MORE than 76,000 appointments have been missed at GP surgeries across Wiltshire causing millions of pounds worth of wasted public money.

During the last 12 months over 63,000 of NHS time was squandered as patients missed or failed to cancel unwanted appointments.

According to the Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the unused appointments lead to £2.7million of pressured finances being wasted.

Figures released by the CCG showed that the 76,400 appointments missed is the equivalent to the total population of Salisbury and Trowbridge not being able to get an appointment when they needed one.

Dr Andrew Girdher from Box Surgery, in Corsham, said: “The scale of missed appointments across Wiltshire is extremely high and adding unnecessary pressure to already stretched NHS resources.

“It’s really important that if a patient no longer needs, or cannot attend their appointment that they cancel it. We understand that people often feel better by the time their appointment comes around, or that circumstances change meaning it is no longer convenient, but cancelling your unwanted appointment allows other patients to be seen more quickly.”

Between July 2016 and June, this year, the county’s 50 GP surgeries recorded an average of 29 missed GP, practice nurse and healthcare assistant appointments each week.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, a GP from Market Lavington Surgery, explains: “On average a GP will conduct 30 appointments per day and based on the total number of missed appointments for July 2016 to June 2017, that’s the equivalent of 2,547 days of general practitioner time that has been lost.

“It’s widely known that NHS resources are under significant pressure, particularly as the needs of patients increase, which is why it’s important that people understand the impact they have if they simply do not turn up to their appointment.”

According to the CCG the money lost could have been used to pay for 324 heart bypasses, 2,853 cataract operations, or 711 treatments for strokes.

Dr Girdher added: “The numbers speak for themselves and highlights the collective impact missed appointments across Wiltshire have on our local health economy. Everyone has a responsibility to look after the NHS – it is tax payers’ money after all - and we urge patients to remember to cancel their unwanted appointments and to help their friends and family to do the same.”