HEALTH chiefs have called for Worcestershire residents to let their GP surgery know if they cannot make an appointment after new figures revealed more than one million appointments are being wasted in the West Midlands.
There are around 22 million booked slots with GPs, nurses, therapists and other practice staff across the region every year and five per cent of those are missed without enough notice to invite other patients – working out at around 1.1million wasted appointments.
Around 440,000 are with busy family doctors, which equals more than 73,000 GP hours wasted each year – the equivalent of 37 GPs working full time for a year.
Each appointment costs an average of £30, putting the total cost to the NHS at more than £33million on top of the disruption for staff and fellow patients.
NHS England is working to improve access to GPs and other health professionals by recruiting thousands of new practice staff and appointments are now available in evenings and weekends in every general practice in the West Midlands.
Patients are also being encouraged to make use of GP online services, where they can book and cancel appointments, order repeat prescriptions, access some of their medical records and more. To register, simply take your ID to practice and ask for the relevant forms.
Dr Francis Campbell, deputy medical director at NHS England West Midlands, said: “Patients can do their part by letting their practice know as soon as possible if they can’t make their slot – freeing up doctors, nurses and other professionals to see others.”
Evening and weekend access to GP services has been available across the country since December and means there will be an estimated nine million extra appointments each year.
They are available seven days a week and through designated local NHS services or in some cases a patient’s own GP practice.