GP appointment. Can't make it? Don't need it? Cancel it!

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More than 12,000 GP appointments are wasted every month across mid and south Essex due to people failing to show up to their surgeries after booking out time with a GP.

Missed GP and practice nurse appointments are estimated to cost the NHS about £160m per year. Aside from the cost, cancelling an appointment you no longer need will free it up for someone else who may need it urgently.

GP leaders say the missed appointments are contributing to increased waiting times in practice and could be contributing to more people with minor illnesses going to local A&E departments for treatment.

Dr Caroline Dollery, Chair of NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“With waiting times for a GP appointment now an issue of national concern – and patients in some areas having to wait up to a month to see their family doctor – it is frustrating that such a high number of patients are not showing up for their appointments but are not cancelling them either.

“In some cases, patients will have a good reason for not attending their GP surgery, however we are urging those who no longer need pre-booked appointments to cancel them to free them up to others that may have an urgent need.”


  • Make sure you make a note of your appointment either in a diary, calendar or on your smart phone and ideally set yourself a reminder

  • Register for online services, speak to your GP practice about how to do this – appointments can be easily cancelled at the touch of a button 24/7

  • Ask your GP practice if they have a text message reminder service

Find out more about registering for GP online services