A NEW campaign is targeting people who don’t cancel their GP appointments and starts today across mid and south Essex.
More than 12,000 slots are wasted every month across the patch due to people failing to show up to their surgeries after booking out time with a GP.
GP leaders say the missed appointments are contributing to increased waiting times in practice and could be contributing to more people with minor illnesses going to local A&E departments for treatment.
Data shows that nearly 2,900 appointments in Thurrock were missed and not cancelled in December 2016 across the 33 GP Practices. This equates to 93 appointments a day in Thurrock alone.
Dr Anand Deshpande, local GP and Chair of NHS Thurrock Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “As GPs we work hard to meet the needs of our patients and make it as easy as possible for them to see their doctor. But we need patients to do their bit too by letting us know if they need to cancel or rearrange their appointment.
“The knock on effect of someone missing their appointment is that some patients who cannot see their GP choose to go to A&E instead and this puts pressure on the hospital. Patients should make sure they attend an appointment if they book one or cancel it if they no longer need it, so it can be made available to someone else.
There are now many ways of cancelling an appointment, via online services, telephone and even by text in some areas.”