Technology is being used to cut the numbers of missed GPs, NHS England has announced.
More than 12 million GP appointments are missed each year in the UK, costing in excess of £162 million per year, figures have shown.
NHS England hopes that by making the appointment system fit into patient’s lives more easily, the number of missed appointments could be slashed.
Many practices already use solutions which let patients check, book and cancel appointments at their own convenience and order repeat medication online.
However, NHS England is calling for practices to roll out these solutions across the wider system. Initiatives such as sending email and text reminders are now used by many clinics, and are already beginning to have an impact. In hospitals, outpatient Did Not Attends have fallen to 9.1% from 10.5% in 2008/9.
Beverley Bryant, NHS England’s director of strategic systems and technology, said: “Patient care is always at the top of our agenda. That‘s why we are doing everything we can to make our service match with people’s lifestyles and the technology they use, to give more people easy access to the services they need.
“We hope the public will do their bit too by making sure they attend or cancel appointments in good time. That way, everybody benefits.”
The NHS is using Change Day 2014 to appeal to patients. Change Day asks patients, staff and providers commit to one action that will improve care within the NHS.
This year, NHS England is encouraging patients to pledge to turn up to their appointments and help push DNA numbers as low as possible.
The scheme, in its second year, has already seen 225,000 people make a personal pledge to improve the NHS, which prior to launch is already up on last year’s total of 189,000 pledges.