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.