MORE than 600 patients have missed their appointments at a Salisbury medical centre since January.

Millstream Medical Centre carried out an audit and discovered that in six months 639 people missed appointments with GPs or nurses, which is equivalent to 10,120 minutes of their time.

“It’s an astonishing number,” said Dr Rob Rosa, senior partner at the centre. “It’s frustrating for us as GPs. We work really hard to deliver excellent services and unfortunately when people don’t turn up it has a detrimental effect on everybody else.

“This has had a real impact on our ability to deliver the provision of care to those most in need and denies others this opportunity. The net effect is a longer wait to see us as many of these patients then duplicate by rebooking.”

Dr Rosa is urging people who no longer need an appointment they have booked to inform the practice, rather than not show up.

“Despite offering more appointments and a new recruitment for GPs, the rate of non-attendance is unsustainable. Patients have to take responsibility for not turning up and acknowledge that this is now a major issue. We now receive more complaints about access than any other issue. The problem needs to be addressed and patients engaging with their surgery is an essential starting point.”

“We are here to help as a caring service and we want to make sure the service is used appropriately,” he added.