Responding to a report from Lancet Public Health into the number of patients missing GP appointments, Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair, said:
“GPs are working harder than ever before to deliver more appointments to the public despite a climate where patient demand is rising, budgets are tightening and widespread staff shortages are common across many parts of the UK. Missed appointments do result in valuable time and resources being wasted, but we do need to understand the reasons why this occurs. As the Lancet Public Health report demonstrates, those from lower socio-economic backgrounds are more likely to miss appointments and many of these patients are often under pressure financially or in other parts of their lives, factors that often contribute to their non attendance.
“It is important that the government and NHS works with GPs to find positive ways to encourage appropriate use of GP services and through education campaigns re-enforces the importance of attending booked appointments, as well as the negative impact missing appointments have on other patients. This must be targeted on those groups who are more likely to miss a consultation with their GP.”
Notes to Editors
The British Medical Association (BMA) is the voice of doctors and medical students in the UK. It is an apolitical, professional organisation and independent trade union, representing doctors and medical students from all branches of medicine across the UK and supporting them to deliver the highest standards of care.