The purpose of this document is to provide guidance regarding the management of patients who failed to attend their appointments. It is essential to make the best use of the GPs’ availability to ensure that all patients have access to appointments within an acceptable time frame.
This document sets out the procedures for monitoring and acting upon missed appointments at Wembury Surgery. Within general practice, failure to attend appointments is commonplace. It is therefore essential that an efficient management system is in place.
The practice aims to design and implement policies and procedures that meet the diverse needs of our service and workforce, ensuring that none are placed at a disadvantage over others, in accordance with the Equality Act 2010. Consideration has been given to the impact this policy might have in regard to the individual protected characteristics of those to whom it applies.
Failure to attend an appointment is commonly referred to as ‘Did Not Attend’ or DNA. For the purpose of this policy, the acronym DNA will be used.
An increasing number of appointments are recorded as being DNAs – i.e. the patient did not attend the appointment, or call to cancel or change the appointment 24 hours prior to the scheduled appointment time. The effects of DNAs are:
- An increase in waiting times for patients
- A waste of clinicians’ time
- An adverse risk to patients’ health
If a patient fails to attend for an appointment, a letter will be sent to the patient.
If the patient fails to attend a second appointment within a 12-month period, a further letter will be sent to the patient.
If the patient fails to attend a third appointment within the same 12-month period, a decision will be made by the Partners as to whether the patient is to be removed from the practice list. The senior GP will then write to the patient and will notify NHS(E), requesting the patient to be removed from the practice list.
All letters are to be saved in each patient’s health records. Letters sent to patients are only valid for a 12-month period.
By reducing the number of DNAs the practice will:
- Enhance the efficiency of clinical sessions
- Reduce costs
- Increase productivity
- Offer a more effective service to patients
DNAs continue to have a significant financial impact across the NHS. Having a robust management system in place will help to reduce the number of DNAs at Wembury Surgery and ensure that all patients have access to an appointment within an acceptable time frame.
This policy has been endorsed by the Wembury Surgery Patient Participation Group.