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More than 8,000 people fail to turn up to doctors appointments in Norfolk just six months

PUBLISHED: 14:03 30 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:02 30 November 2017

Picture: Denise Bradley

Picture: Denise Bradley

More than 8,000 patients did not turn up for their appointments over a six-month stretch at just 24 of the county’s doctors’ surgeries.

The time wasted on missed doctors appointments across all surgeries in three parts of Norfolk equated to the total appointment time for seven full-time GPs a year, new data has revealed.

Across Norwich, south and north Norfolk, figures from clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) found patients are missing seven or eight appointments a day.

And the health authorities have urged patients to cancel their appointments if they do not need them, as the slot could be offered to someone else.

Dr Simon Cooke, a GP at Oak Street surgery in Norwich and Chair of OneNorwich, the alliance of GP practices in the city, said: “We have one simple message about this to all of our patients: keep it or cancel it.

“Appointments are at a real premium at the moment and we want every appointment to count.”

A snapshot of survey responses from surgeries in Norwich, south and north Norfolk laid the facts of appointment wastage bare.

The areas’ three CCGs found 24 out of the 63 surgeries offered 223,083 from March to August.

Out of these, 8,453 were marked as “did not attend”,

When applied to all surgeries, the total time wasted could be equated to the time spent on appointments for seven GPs in one year.

The CCGs believe around 3.8pc of patients on average do not attend appointments.

In Norwich, GP surgeries have invested in technology - called MJog - to text appointment reminders and give patients the ability to reply and automatically cancel the appointment.

Garry Mahn, practice manager at Magdalen Medical Practice, said: “The use of this technology meant that more than 75 appointments in August were automatically cancelled via patients’ phones - allowing other patients the opportunity of an appointment at the surgery.

“If you are registered with a GP Practice in Norwich, please ask at your surgery about MJog.

“You do not need a smartphone to use MJog, it is available to anyone with a phone that can text.”

Dr Cooke added: “MJog enables people to very easily reply using their smartphone, which is fantastic.

“It allows people to have far more interaction with their practice. When it comes to their appointment, MJog will help our patients keep it or cancel it.”

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