Carlton GP defends missed appointments sign in surgery

Jubilee Park Medical Centre
Jubilee Park Medical Centre put the sign on the door for patients to see [BBC]

A GP surgery in Nottinghamshire dealing with "overwhelming" demand says more than 700 appointments have been missed already this year.

Jubilee Park Medical Centre, in Carlton, started sharing the number of daily missed appointments on a sign in the surgery to raise awareness.

The surgery had faced "understandable" complaints from patients struggling to get appointments, a senior GP said.

Health bosses said the number of available appointments have increased.

Ian Campbell, GP and senior partner of the Carlton surgery, said staff "shared the desperation that patients feel".

"We've had people who phone and book in at 09:00 and then don't show up," the GP said.

Dr Campbell added the practice was not intending to be "punitive" by sharing the notice but instead wanted to highlight the issue.

"If people can't make an appointment, we'll give it to somebody else but if they don't tell us, it's just another appointment that goes to waste," he said.

One patient of the surgery said "it's too hard to get an appointment now".

Kelly Rosen, 43, said: "I've had a routine appointment before and I've waited a month-and-a-half for it.

"I know at the end of the day I'm going to that appointment because I won't get seen again."

Missed appointments in the county cost the NHS more than £600,000 in the first two months of the year, according to the doctors' union The British Medical Association (BMA).

A BMA spokesperson said: "In Nottinghamshire, in January and February, there were about 15,000 missed appointments and that has cost the NHS roughly £630,000."

The spokesperson added more needed to be done to tackle the issue.

According to figures published by the NHS, in January 26,583 appointments were missed out of 683,628 across 130 GP practices in Nottingham and the county.

A further 38,996 were recorded as being "unknown" as to whether they were attended or not.

In February, 25,044 out of 645,406 appointments were unattended with 38,996 recorded as "unknown". Figures for March have not been published.

The Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) said the number of appointments being provided have "significantly increased in the last 12 months" and many practices sent reminders to patients via text message.

Victoria McGregor-Riley, commissioning delivery director at the ICB said: "Sadly, patients failed to attend more than 25,000 GP appointments in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire in February this year alone.

"Although this counts for less than 4% of the 645,000 appointments provided in the same month, it is still a significant drain on NHS resources and precious GP practice time.

"We'd encourage people to download the NHS app to keep a track of their appointments and always cancel if they no longer need it."

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