Simple steps could reduce patient no-shows by third, NHS study finds

Research has found that using behaviour change techniques in GP surgeries could reduced DNAs (Did Not Attends) by up to 30%.

The study was carried out jointly by NHS Bedfordshire, Influence at Work, a training and consultancy provider, and BDO, an accountancy and professional services firm.  

The study found that using techniques such as getting patients to write their appointment down themselves and getting them to repeat the appointment verbally to receptionists helped to reduce DNAs.

Placing positive messages around GP practices confirming that attending appointments is the ‘social norm’ also helped to reduce missed appointment, the study said.

In NHS Bedfordshire, the behaviour change techniques resulted in a reduction of 30% in the number of no-shows, the study said.

Researchers said that replicating this approach country-wide could deliver savings of up to £250m a year.

Nadia Shaw, practice manager from Toddington Medical Centre in Bedfordshire, took part in the research.

She said: ‘Given how simple the interventions were we weren’t too sure how successful they would be but they proved to be an amazing turnaround for us.’

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said that any method which could reduced missed appointments was positive as DNAs often resulted in extended waiting times for patients.

However GPs should be careful to ensure that safeguards are maintained, Dr Nagpaul said.

‘Any measure that will reduce the rate of DNAs will be of benefit both to practices and patients.’ Dr Nagpaul said

‘However it is important to ensure robust information governance safeguards are in place.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Woman holding face in pain

Should GPs treat patients presenting with dental problems?

The MDU's Dr Kathryn Leask considers what GPs should do if a patient presents with...

Conservative Party leadership candidate and foreign secretary Liz Truss

Liz Truss vows to resolve GP pension tax crisis if she becomes prime minister

Liz Truss has affirmed her commitment to resolving the GP pensions crisis but has...

Baby receiving a vaccine in their thigh

JCVI advises changes to routine childhood and HPV immunisation schedules

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended a change...

GP consultation

General practice delivering 'up to double the appointments it is paid for'

General practice in England may be delivering as many as double the number of appointments...

Sign outside BMA House

GP suicide sparks calls for measures to protect doctors from spiralling workloads

The government and policymakers must do more to safeguard doctors and NHS staff from...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Living with long COVID

In August we’re bringing you some of the best interviews from series one of the podcast....