Waste of a Valuable Resource

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‘Did Not Attend’ (DNA) Increase in wasted appointments at Birchington Medical Centre

Help us to help you…..

It is important that people realise that not turning up for their agreed appointments, means that other patients care might be delayed and doctors and nurses time could be wasted.  Patients often have genuine reasons to miss an appointment, but it can have a big impact on the care we can offer to other patients.  It is important that the public understand we have responsibilities too, like not wasting precious NHS resources.

The NHS Constitution makes it clear that patients have the right to access NHS services, but patients have responsibilities too – it is important to keep appointments, or cancel within a reasonable time.

Patients who failed to cancel unwanted appointments amounted to 2,240 during 2017.  That is an average of 3.5% of all available appointments. This is an extremely worrying and unnecessary waste of our clinician’s time and resources and denies access by others in need of our services.

The situation seems to be getting worse this year, with 829 missed appointments so far in the first four months of 2018 (3.8% of available appointments).   This is shocking to see and upsetting when you consider demand for appointments put upon our medical centre.

Patients and carers are asked to please notify the medical centre if they no longer require their appointment.  We are happy to receive cancellations ideally 24 hours before they are due, but even at the very latest, a couple of hours’ notice does mean that we are highly likely to be able to offer your unwanted appointment to someone else.   Patients who decide to cancel their appointment will not be in ‘trouble’ in any way.

A reminder that you can cancel by:

  • phoning the surgery and pressing ‘option 2’ for our dedicated cancellation line (no waiting on the phone to be answered by a receptionist)
  • going online if you are registered for our online services
  • replying to the text notification we may have sent to your mobile phone if you have agreed to receive texts from us
  • emailing birchingtonmcpm@nhs.net
  • sending in a letter or come and see us in person

“As practice manager, I cannot allow this waste to continue at these levels.  I shall be working with staff and our patient participation group to develop and implement a DNA policy whereby persistent ‘offenders’, are removed from the patient list and will need to register at another practice.  Safeguards will of course be put in place in respect of our ‘at risk’ patients to follow-up on their non-attendance.

Please, if you cannot make your appointment, for whatever reason, let us know.  Someone else who needs our care can benefit from your cancellation”.

Hannah Price

Practice Manager

Birchington Medical Centre