Patients in the north west are being urged to cancel appointments they no longer need in a bid to reduce the 3,000 no shows every month.
The “Keep It Or Cancel It” campaign has been launched in Blackburn with Darwen CCG in a bid to reduce the number of no shows to appointments with GPs and nurses in the area’s 27 GP practices.
On average the practices are reporting 3,000 wasted appointments every month, or 36,000 annually.
The CCG wants patients to contact surgeries to cancel unwanted appointments even if it is ten minutes before the scheduled time, so they can be given to someone else waiting for an appointment or emergency slot.
Peter Sellars, the CCG’s primary care transformation lead said: “This is an important issue for all of our GPs and by working collectively, we are hoping to make some serious inroads in reducing the number of missed appointments. Some of our practices regularly have up to 20% of missed appointments – equivalent to around one day a week of GP’s time.”
He said it could help ease pressures on surgeries when some patients are unable to get an appointment.
Dr Pervez Muzaffar who is behind the campaign said: “The number of wasted appointments in local surgeries across Blackburn with Darwen is huge, it’s a massive waste of precious resources and time. The NHS is ours and we can all play our parts to improve the system.”
The CCG said most patients who fail to turn up have simply forgotten about their appointment, but some people miss their consultations as they feel better, have transport problems or are unable to get through to the surgery to cancel.