An expert has released comments to raise awareness that cancelling your GP appointment last minute could have the same impact as missing it altogether, which costs the NHS £30 per appointment (Source: NHS).
Patient Claim Line has released the comments following their recent findings that, in England, between June 2022 and December 2022, £290,323,500 of NHS funds were wasted due to people not attending their appointment slots.
A spokesperson from Patient Claim Line, explains why last-minute cancellations can negatively impact the NHS and how they may play a part in this figure.
Why does cancelling a GP appointment last minute cost the NHS money?
“According to the NHS, £30 is lost every time a GP appointment is missed. Of course, there are a number of valid reasons not to attend a GP appointment but it’s crucial that you call ahead of time to cancel.”
“However, many Brits may not be aware that if you call to cancel your GP appointment at the last minute, this could be classed as a ‘DNA’ or ‘did not attend’, which will still cost the GP money. This is because there was insufficient time to fill the allocated GP slot.”
How much money does the NHS lose due to last-minute cancellations?
“Each year the NHS loses a lot of money due to ‘DNA’ appointments. We recently analysed NHS data to find that more than £290 million of NHS funds were wasted between June and December 2023 on ‘DNA’ appointments.”
“There is conflicting public information on how appointments, which are cancelled at the last minute, are recorded. Many practices, such as Colville Health Centre in London state on their website that a DNA can occur “[…] where the cancellation is so late as to make it impossible to allocate that time to another [p]atient who needs treatment.”
“Therefore, it is likely that many last-minute cancellations have contributed towards the estimated £290 million lost last year.”
“In other cases, such as in a report by Black Country Partnership, it seems last-minute cancellations are reported as a cancellation rather than a ‘DNA’, stating: “[w]hen a patient cancels where no advance notice is given e.g. an hour before the planned appointment, this is still recorded as a cancellation as per national data definitions.”
“Either way, if the appointment is cancelled too late to fill the slot, this will cost the NHS.”
What can the public do to reduce the amount of money lost due to last-minute cancellations?
“It’s better to call ahead and warn your GP than not show up at all, but if you’re unable to attend your GP appointment, try to call at least a day before so that your appointment slot can be filled.”
“It’s important to do our bit to reduce the number of ‘DNA’ GP appointments in the UK, whether that is appointments which are missed or cancelled last minute, as this will ultimately help save the NHS money at a crucial time.”