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Surgery hits out after 'horrifying' 32 hours of missed appointments in December

PUBLISHED: 17:22 15 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:35 17 January 2019

Bungay Medical Centre.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Bungay Medical Centre. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

More than 32 hours worth of appointments were missed at a town’s medical centre in December, it has been revealed.

Patients failed to turn up to 170 appointments at Bungay Medical Centre, in St John’s Road, including 51 GP appointments totalling eight-and-a-half hours and 23 urgent, same-day appointments totalling three-and-three-quarter hours.

Lisa Townsend-Kwan, deputy practice manager at the centre, urged patients to cancel appointments if they are no longer needed to help other patients.

She said: “It is quite horrifying when you think that this is for a practice of 11,500 patients for 31 days.

“It is frustrating because we are trying to deal with an ever more demanding population who want what they want when they want it, but then don’t turn up for it.

“The missed GP appointments would have been booked over a week ahead but technology has caught up and people get a confirmation text to remind them, but some people still ignore this.

“What I find most disturbing are the 23 same day appointments missed. People feel they are so urgent they have to be seen and cannot wait but then they don’t come.

“Some may be so ill they have to go to hospital before it, but the majority of those find something else to do.”

Other missed appointments include 15 with the practice nurse, 25 flu injections, and 21 with the healthcare assistant.

Mrs Townsend-Kwan said: “We are trying to offer the best service we can for our patients for what they need.

“Whether it is an urgent appointment on the day or a follow-up, we consider them all to be as important as each other.

“People who need appointments may miss out or have to wait until the end of the day, but people want an immediate service. It is one of the big issues for GPs all over the country.

“If someone has a routine appointment booked and it becomes more urgent so they book a same-day one, they may assume their other appointment is cancelled by us, but it could be for something different.

“Be aware someone else maybe more in need of that missed appointment.”

Cutlers Hill Surgery, on Bungay Road, Halesworth, also experienced similar issues in December. Taking to Facebook, they urged patients to cancel their appointments if they are no longer necessary or if they are unable to attend after 29 missed GP appointments and 68 missed nurses appointments.

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