Around 10,000 people each week fail to attend for GP or nurse-led appointments, according to East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell.
Following a question to Health Minister Simon Hamilton, Mr Campbell said he as concerned about the statistic, which was equivalent to over 500,000 patients not keeping appointments each year.
“I was concerned about reports on the number of missed GP appointments and the adverse impact it was having on the Health Service,” Mr Campbell said.
“I asked the Health Minister Simon Hamilton MLA to detail the percentage change in the number of appointments not being kept by patients at their GP’s clinics between 2010 and 2014.
While the percentage change was not available, Mr Hamilton informed me that there are approximately 12.7 million GP consultations each year and it is estimated that around 10,000 patients per week fail to turn up for their GP or nurse-led appointment consultations.
“This is equivalent to over 500,000 patients failing to turn up every year.
“The Minister indicated that missed appointments therefore equate to over four per cent of available consultations.
Appealing for people to let their health professionals know if they are unable to attend, he said: “I share the Minister’s comments that the level of missed appointments is unacceptable and as well as the financial costs, the impact on the health service is the missed opportunity for GP’s to see and treat other patients, which in turn has an adverse impact on the waiting times for other patients to receive the treatment they need.
“It is important that if patients know they cannot fulfil a GP or Hospital appointment date that they inform the GP Clinic or Hospital as soon as possible. There needs to be reductions in the levels of missed appointments. I am pleased that the Minister has said that while GP practices have improved access to their services through recent work with the Health & Social Care Board, his officials will be working closely with the HSCB in order to identify further measures to bring forward additional improvement.”