MORE than £90,000 has been wasted in South Derbyshire by people not turning up to see doctors.
The staggering statistic mean that GPs could have seen an extra 9,500 patients last year if they had not been waiting for those who failed to keep appointments.
Doctors and nurses spent 1,599 hours – or 95,940 minutes – waiting for patients who never turned up.
Now, health chiefs are urging people to attend appointments or, if they can’t, to make sure they cancel, so that someone else can be offered the chance to see a doctor or a nurse.
Dr Buk Dhadda, GP with Gresleydale Health Centre, in Castle Gresley, and governing body member of NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “I was shocked to learn recently that GP practices in South Derbyshire could have seen an extra 9,500 patients.
“And I’m sure you’ll share my surprise that the cost to the NHS of practice staff waiting for no-show patients was a staggering £91,655.
“The figures were published by NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group to highlight the importance of patients turning up on time or cancelling as soon as possible.
“In total 874 GP hours were wasted, while practice nurses spent 725 hours in fruitless waiting.
“With the NHS recommending 10 minutes per appointment, practices would have been able to see 9,500 patients in the time they spent waiting for no-shows to turn up.
“The cost to the NHS of GPs waiting for patients was £69,920, while the comparable figure for practice nurses was £21,735.
“It’s hard to count the human cost of the stress and suffering of patients kept waiting for appointments, but there’s no doubt that missed appointments are costing local health services hundreds of thousands of pounds at a time when the NHS has never been under greater pressure.
“Patients who fail to show up just increase the time people have to wait to see a GP, as more appointments have to be created.
“Yet this is a problem that’s easily remedied. All people have to do is call their practice straight away if they have to cancel an appointment.”