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One in five patients regularly miss GP appointments

From BBC - December 4, 2017

Up to one in five patients are regularly missing GP appointments in Scotland, with younger people the worst offenders, new research has found.

A study of more than 500,000 people in the country, published in the journal The Lancet Public Health, shows young males are most likely to not attend.

In 2014, NHS England estimated that more than 12 million GP visits are missed each year in the UK.

That could cost the health service in excess of 162m per year.

Perhaps surprisingly there is no centrally collected data on either the total number of GP appointments or how many of them are missed.

But the new study revealed that 19% of patients - roughly one in five - missed more than two appointments over a three-year period.

Younger, male patients aged 16 to 30 were found to be the worst offenders.

Those appointments that were booked two or three days in advance were more likely to be missed than those made two weeks in advance.

'I want it now' generation

David Ellis, of the University of Lancaster, one of the lead authors of the study, says the research has identified where doctors' surgeries need to focus their efforts.

"Some of the solutions might include practices learning to better manage patients who are more likely to not attend.

"So for example that might mean giving more appointments on the day than say, two to three days in advance.

"And because we have already got a kind of profile of what those patients might look like who are more likely to not attend, that's where the more targeted interventions could be pushed."

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