‘No-shows could prevent your granny being seen’

Dr Tom Black.
Dr Tom Black.

A Derry GP has warned that those failing to attend appointment could be preventing their own or someone else’s grandmother being seen.

Dr Tom Black from Abbey Medical, who is also Chairman of the Northern Ireland General Practitioners Committee, said the issue was putting additional pressure on GP services at a time when fewer medical students were choosing to go down this route because of the workload.

It emerged this week that nearly 10,000 people a week are not turning up for GP or nurse appointments across the north.

Speaking to the Journal, Dr Black said: “The issue is around people making appointments and then not showing up. This is often on the same day the appointment is made. Yesterday here alone we had three same day appointments that did not attend. You might be able to understand someone forgetting over time, but you wouldn’t forget in the same day. It is quite exasperating. It’s galling.

“Up to 3 to 5% of appointments are missed, and we are providing more than 12 million appointments per year, which is double what it was 20 years ago. By comparison, all A&Es in total have 600,000.

“If you fail to turn up you have wasted that appointment for the community and perhaps your granny or someone else didn’t get seen as a result of that.”

Dr Black said that there are currently 950 GPs in the north at present for 1.9million patients. This equates to one GP for every 2,000 people.