Our weekly health column by Dr Kevin Hill, Doctor Calling...
A new DNA (Did Not Attend) campaign to be launched across the south, south west and east of Lincolnshire, will reveal that in excess of 130,000 GP appointments are made and not attended every year.
The ‘Forgotten Something’ campaign will run in Lincolnshire East, South Lincolnshire and South West Lincolnshire CCGs from December and will ask patients to cancel any GP appointments they can’t make or don’t need.
“It can be easy to forget things, but it’s really vital that we all make an effort to cancel GP appointments we no longer need, or can’t attend,” explains Dr Dave Baker, GP and Acting Chair, South West Lincolnshire CCG.
“The impact of DNAs on our practices is immense. Having taken a sample of practices, we have calculated that 131,544 appointments are ‘DNA’d’, or made and then not taken up, every year across our combined 63 GP practices, which is the equivalent to nearly 22,000 hours of consultation time.”
Of course there are times when we can make appointments and then find we no longer need them, and the ‘Forgotten Something’ campaign recognises this and provides useful prompts, and GP practices will be able to display a series of posters promoting the campaign.
“We understand that people will book an appointment to see their GP and then find they don’t need the appointment or cannot make it, and it is possible to cancel your appointment either in person, over the phone or, with some practices via their website,” adds Dr Baker.
“The problem is the sheer number of appointments made and then not used or cancelled. We try to allow around 10 minutes per appointment, so every DNA has a cumulative effect on the time we have available for patients who need to come and see us. To put it another way, forgetting to cancel your appointment prevents someone else from being seen.”
Patients can help reduce the level of DNAs by reminding family and friends to cancel their unwanted appointments.
The reception team at your GP practice will be able to advise how best to cancel an unwanted appointment.