When a North Somerset resident fed back to us how many missed appointments their GP Practice had experienced in the previous month we were alerted to the fact that this could impact upon the availability of appointments and required further investigation.
In this report, we consider the number of missed GP appointments and how individual practices seek to manage and minimise the number of DNAs they experience.
Findings published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (Martin, Bassi & Dunbar-Rees, 2015) suggest that DNAs (Did not Attends) can be reduced by increasing engagement with patients and introducing the following steps:
- Asking the patient to repeat the time and date of the appointment over the phone led to a 3.5% drop in DNAs the following month, in the practices taking part.
- Asking patients to write the time and date of their follow-up appointment (instead of nurses filling it out themselves) led to an 18% DNA reduction compared to the previous 6 month average in one nurse-led clinic.
- Communicating on posters how many patients had attended over the past month (rather than had not attended) positively framed the message and promoted the desired behaviour instead of normalising DNAs. This, combined with the other two interventions, reduced DNAs by 32% overall.