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Practices lose almost 40 days a year worth of care through DNAs

Patients in Wiltshire missed the equivalent of 37.5 days of care per practice through did not attends, data from the local CCG found.

NHS Wiltshire CCG surveyed around 40 practices between July and September this year, finding that 281 appointments per practice were missed in that time.

It calculated that this resulted in the equivalent of more than nine days of lost GP, nurses and health care assistant time per practice per three months, based on the assumption that a GP will see 30 patients each day.

The CCG urged patients in a statement to take the time to cancel their appointments if they are no longer necessary.

Dr Peter Jenkins, chair of Wiltshire CCG said: ‘Every missed appointment it is a missed opportunity for practices to see another patient. Between July and September that means practices could have seen another 15,500 patients, which is staggering.

‘Simply by cancelling unwanted appointments, even if it is a few minutes before, it means that other patients have an opportunity to be seen more quickly and perhaps see their own GP.

‘We were aware that most practices experience several DNAs each day, but the volumes we are seeing are quite frankly, shocking.’

Dr Nigel Watson, chair of the Wessex LMC, said the DNA rate for Wiltshire CCG is ‘a fairly consistent picture’with practices in other areas.

He said: ‘Many practices, and mine does the same, will look at people who are currently DNA and some of them are through illness, they’ve got dementia or other reasonably good reasons, but some people just seem to book appointments and it’s not high of their priority list. It is a bit unfair on the rest of the people trying to get appointments.’

Dr Watson said many practices are using text message services to remind patients 24 hours before an appointment to successfully curb DNA rates, while others are writing to patients after missing three appointments ‘and explaining that it’s not really acceptable’.

However, he added that GPs have mixed views towards missed appointments ‘because actually if somebody doesn’t come into the surgery you can catch up on some of the other stuff, but it does make you wonder why patients have booked.’

Earlier this year it was found that 70% of patients surveyed would be willing to pay £10 for missing a GP appointment.

Meanwhile, another survey found that 66% of GPs wanted to charge patients for missed appointments.

Readers' comments (9)

  • It's not as simple as this though. Perhaps unlike a hospital consultant, I'm sitting at my desk with all my admin work within reach while I see patients.

    If a patient doesn't arrive, there is plenty of stuff that needs to be done on the computer: the time is not wasted.

    If every patient turned up I would just have to do more admin after surgery and end up leaving even later than I do.

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  • As above the reality is that GPs are doing phone calls, results etc in DNA slots or grabbing a cup of tea prior to seeing extras, so the impact is overstated.

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  • Practices dont lose care their fellow patients lose care. Free and dont give a fu@ck at the point of service

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  • Quite right, Simon. I have no incentive to reduce my DNAs, they are an essential feature of workload management. If they all turn up, I run 45 mins late minimum.

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  • I used to work for a now retired urology consultant who would announce, 'DNAs - God bless every one of them!' in clinic.

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  • Do you ever get the feeling some places book in fictitious appts
    To maintain a healthy DNA rate???

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  • The best ones are double appts for interpreters
    Or a few family members who all do not turn up..

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  • Telephone triaged lists are a nightmare
    Everyone attends and everyone's complex
    Avoid as a locum

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  • This begs the question, what is a safe level of consulting? We GPs keep talking such utter, utter tripe, because I, for one and every GP I know, see more patients a day than is safe or even semi comfortable, running upto 40 patients a day, doing 12 to 14 hours a day, in spite of the DNAs. A few days ago, my eyes were spinning looking at lab results at 9 pm, having stated at 7 am.
    I was going on holiday next day and had to come back at 430 am to 830 am, before leaving to the airport at 12 pm.
    Thank God fro the DNAs. The other GPs may be twiddling their thumbs, but I do not know any.
    All this stuff is complete rubbish, until and unless you define what a safe number of consults are per day.

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