This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

DNAs fall as GPs urge fines for missed appointments

Seven in 10 practices want

patients fined for missing appointments, a large survey has revealed. But the number of DNAs has fallen three million in a year, the survey of 10,758 practices found.

The Doctor Patient Partnership, which conducted the survey, said advanced access appointment systems and the Government's 48-hour access target had helped cut non-

attendance because patients were less likely to forget an

appointment booked recently.

The survey found 54 per cent of practices supported a fine of under £10 while 14 per cent wanted a higher penalty.

It also revealed 244,000

appointments are missed every week in the UK ­ 12.6 million per year. But this was a fall of 2.8 million from last year.

GPs in the Northern and Yorkshire region had an average of nine DNAs a week, and those in Scotland an average of eight, compared with five in London and only four in the South-East.

Nearly 60 per cent of practices said missed appointments were a problem: 64 per cent said facilities to send reminders by telephone, mobile or e-mail would help cut DNA rates, and 78 per cent called for a public education campaign.

Partnership chair Dr Simon Fradd, joint-deputy chair of the GPC, said the fall in DNAs was welcome but the figure was 'still astronomical'.

Dr Jasper Mohan, a GP in east London whose practice has cut DNA rates by reminding patients by text message, said fines would be a 'bureaucratic nightmare' to police.

Dr Mohan said a public education campaign would be most effective, as texting reminders had only dented the problem. 'We text 20 people to prevent one not turning up.'

Missed GP appointments

 · 12.6 million DNAs a year cost the NHS £250m

 · 68% of GPs want patients fined for no-shows

 · GPs in Northern and Yorkshire region have average of nine DNAs a week, compared with eight in Scotland, five in London and four in the South-East

Rate this article 

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Have your say