Dr Satpal Shekhawat, Medical Director at NHS North Lincolnshire CCG, says patients who must miss an appointment should cancel as soon as possible, so this can then be offered to another patient.
It comes after figures for September and October reveal there were 6,350 primary care appointments across the region which were not attended – so were not available to other patients. This is equivalent to more than 500 hours of missed appointments in a month.
“Demand for our health services is higher than it has ever been,” said Dr Shekhawat. “GP practices have been working throughout the pandemic and continue to work extremely hard. In North Lincolnshire alone, we held more than 100,000 appointments in October – with more than 70% of these being face to face with the patient. Despite this, demand is still high and we are therefore politely asking patients who book an appointment, and then for whatever reason cannot make it, to let their practice know as soon as possible so we can offer that slot to somebody else. Even if you decide not to attend on the morning of the appointment, please do contact your practice and let them know – they will still be able to open that appointment to someone who really needs it.
“The easiest way for people to do this is by downloading the NHS App if you have a smartphone. The app is extremely useful and not only is a patient easily able to cancel an appointment, they can order repeat prescriptions, get health advice and in some cases, book an appointment too.
“Your NHS is here for you so please do consider the health of others if you decide you no longer need to see your local GP or practice nurse.”
Figures also reveal more than 200,000 GP appointments took place in September and October with almost 145,000 of those being seen face to face. Almost 80,000 of the appointments were made on the same day the patient had contacted the practice.
“We continue to work tirelessly to give our patients the best possible care we can,” added Dr Shekhawat. “We are carrying out more appointments than we did pre-pandemic and, alongside that, continue to rollout the coronavirus and flu vaccination programmes at pace. So please be polite and respectful to our practice teams – we are all doing our very best to help you during extremely challenging times.”