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Missed Doctor Appointments Cost the NHS PDF Print Email

If you miss a GP appointment you will find out how much it has cost.  Missed GP and hospital appointments cost the NHS in England nearly £1 billion. The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, announced the plans recently but said there were no plans to charge patients for missed appointments although people need to take responsibility for their effect on NHS funds.

The health secretary said the cost of prescription medicines would be displayed on the packet with the words ‘funded by the UK taxpayer’ if the medicine cost more than £20.  It is hoped this would help reduce the amount of wastage of medicines that are prescribed by never used, thought to be about £300 million.

He said missed GP appointments cost the taxpayer £162m and missed hospital appointments cost £750m.

He said NHS funding and resources are already stretched, some would say almost at breaking point, and the population is getting older and living longer.


There are many reasons why people miss appointments from laziness and they can't be bothered, to difficulty in getting there or deteriorating health.

Shadow health minister Andrew Gwynne said "Patients have a responsibility to attend GP appointments and to let their surgery know if they cannot attend," he said.

"Many GP surgeries already remind patients about appointments using text messages and emails, and the first priority should be to expand the use of these services, rather than cutting the funding for them, as the government is planning to do."

It is not always easy to see your doctor within 48 hours and evening and weekend appointments are rare.  It is significant where you live too.

The role of the pharmacist is often overlooked in these discussions, most people have access to one within reasonable travelling distance, you probably won’t need an appointment , can get trustworthy advice for all minor symptoms and some more serious conditions and can usually purchase medicine to help at the same time.