THOUSANDS of appointments at GP practices were missed in just one month, according to statistics.
Figures compiled by NHS Fareham and Gosport CCG show that an estimated 3,000 appointments were missed across the two towns in January alone.
Statistics from 13 of the 18 GP practices in the two boroughs revealed that 2,431 GP, nurse and other healthcare worker appointments were not kept – with health bosses confident that the remaining practices would take the figure above 3,000 for the month.
Gosport GP Dr David Chilvers said: ‘This snapshot of figures – and it is just a snapshot – is alarming, although it doesn’t come as a huge surprise.
‘Patients who make an appointment and don’t keep it are potentially denying that appointment to someone else who might really need it.
‘If you took the 3,000 figure across a year, that could conservatively mean 30,000 missed appointments in Gosport and Fareham alone in a 12-month period.’
Dr Chilvers is calling on patients to inform practices if they won’t be attending appointments.
He said: ‘People who fail to attend appointments are making life more difficult for everyone else – doctors, nurses and other patients.
‘I would ask people who no longer need an appointment to make every effort to contact their practice and cancel it, even if it is short notice.’
Gosport patient Kylie Chatfield, from Rowner, says that practices could open up these appointments if people cancelled them.
She said: ‘I’ve never missed an appointment myself but I do know people that have, for various reasons.
‘I’ve never seen an appointment offered up if one is cancelled, but I think they could be opened up for people.’
Another patient, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘It’s annoying that people miss these appointments because they could be used for other people.’
Dr Chilvers said: ‘Healthcare professionals are not sitting around reading a newspaper or making tea when a patient fails to show up.
‘They are getting on with their next appointment or catching up with their paperwork.’