Revealed: How much missed GP appointments in Newham have cost the NHS this year
PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 June 2019 | UPDATED: 07:51 10 June 2019
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Missed doctor appointments in Newham have cost the NHS a seven-figure sum - and wasted 44 weeks worth of consulting time - so far this year.
NHS Digital data shows patients failed to attend 44,670 face-to-face consultations with doctors and nurses between January and April.
Based on the average cost for an appointment in England of £30, no-shows in the borough have cost an estimated £1,340,100 over those four months, or £11,168 a day.
This is enough to pay the annual salary of 58 full-time nurses.
With sessions usually lasting around 10 minutes, unattended appointments wasted 7,445 hours of consulting time - the equivalent of 44 weeks.
The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) say missed sessions are "a frustrating waste of resources" for GPs, and for other patients struggling to secure time with their doctors.
RCGP chair 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.
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"Many patients are waiting far too long for a GP appointment, and we can all do our bit to help."
As of April this year, a total of 454,071 face-to-face consultations have been booked with GPs and other practice staff in the Newham Clinical Commissioning Group.
Of those, one in 10 was missed without the patient calling in to cancel or reschedule.
Cancelled appointments aren't included in the figures, as the surgery can offer those slots to other patients.
NHS England 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."
Across England, almost 4.5 million patients have failed to attend appointments this year, racking up estimated costs of more than £130 million.
The British Medical Association said it was vital that appointments were not wasted at a time of intense pressure on the NHS.
The association's GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: "We believe that the NHS should make it clear to the public that, given current pressures on the health service, patients should make every possible effort to attend or rearrange their appointment to avoid time and money being wasted."