Revealed: Missed GP appointments in Redbridge have already cost NHS hundreds of thousands this year
PUBLISHED: 13:00 12 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:04 12 June 2019
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Missed GP appointments in Redbridge have already set the NHS back hundreds of thousands of pounds this year.
Patients failed to attend 26,250 face-to-face consultations with doctors and nurses between January and April 2019, NHS Digital data shows.
The average cost for an appointment in England is £30, meaning no-shows in Redbridge cost the NHS an estimated £787,500 over the four months - £6,563 a day.
The total so far this year is already enough to pay the annual salary of 34 full-time nurses.
And with sessions usually lasting around 10 minutes, unattended appointments meant GPs and other practice staff wasted 4,375 hours of consulting time, the equivalent of 26 weeks.
The Royal College of GPs said missed sessions are "a frustrating waste of resources" for GPs, and for other patients struggling to secure time with their doctors.
As of April this year, a total of 373,715 face-to-face consultations have been booked with GPs and other practice staff in the Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group.
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One in 14 was missed, without the patient calling in to cancel or reschedule.
Cancelled appointments are not included in the figures, as the surgery can offer those slots to other patients.
RCGP chairwoman Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: "We would urge patients to let us know if they can't attend as soon as possible, so we can offer that time to someone who really needs it.
"Many patients are waiting far too long for a GP appointment, and we can all do our bit to help."
Almost 4.5 million patients have failed to attend appointments in England this year, racking up estimated costs of more than £130million.
The British Medical Association said it was vital that appointments were not wasted at a time of intense pressure on the NHS.
NHS England has urged patients to do their part to cut down on missed appointments.
Primary Care director Dr Nikki Kanani said: "Our message is clear: if you cannot make it to your appointment, or no longer need a consultation, please let your practice know in advance so the appointment can be filled by another patient."