Missed appointments cost region

FORGETFUL patients are costing our region's cash-strapped NHS millions of pounds every year by failing to turn up for doctors' appointments.Each GP appointment costs the NHS the equivalent of about £18 and in the eastern region 505,409 have been missed this year alone.

FORGETFUL patients are costing our region's cash-strapped NHS millions of pounds every year by failing to turn up for doctors' appointments.

Each GP appointment costs the NHS the equivalent of about £18 and in the eastern region 505,409 have been missed this year alone.

This situation is echoed nationally - a report released this week found that more than 10 million GP appointments are being missed every year in the UK.

The survey, carried out by Developing Patient Partnerships (DPP) and the Institute of Healthcare Management, also found that patients in the eastern region missed about 300,000 meetings with practice nurses.

Jeremy Peters, spokesman for the Suffolk East primary care trusts, said: "Local practices are very pro-active in making their patients aware of the impacts of missing appointments.

"Many of them display posters which show the number of appointments that have been missed each month, and they will also put reminders in all their leaflets and literature."

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The DPP's study found that 71pc of surgeries said they would consider removing patients from their lists if they repeatedly missed their appointments, while more than two-thirds of surgeries (67pc) supported the idea of charging patients for missed appointments.

The survey found the main reason for patients failing to turn up was that they simply forgot, while others felt better and decided not to attend.

Do you think patients should be charged for missing appointments? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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