Patients urged to cancel appointments rather than just not show up

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Baby with cancel GP appointment message

More than 15 million general practice appointments are being wasted each year because patients do not turn up and fail to warn surgeries that they will not be attending.

NHS England report that around 307 million sessions scheduled with GPs, nurses, therapists and other practice staff every year and 5% – one in twenty – are missed without enough notice to invite other patients. That works out as around 15.4 million missed slots.

In mid and south Essex more than 12,000 GP slots are wasted every month across due to people failing to show up to their GP appointments.

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


  • 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

NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups across mid and south Essex are working together to raise awareness of the impacts of missed appointments and to help educate local people about tools such as online GP services that help to make cancelling GP appointments easy.