The demand for GP and Nurse appointments is growing all the time. It is vitally important that patients let the practice know if they cannot attend a booked appointment so it can be offered to another patient.
Lost appointments through DNA (did not attend) are a part of the reason that other patients experience difficulties in accessing services. Each of these lost appointments lead to an increase in the waiting time for appointments along with growing frustration for both staff and patients.
When a patient fails to attend for their appointment (without notifying the practice), an entry will be made on their medical record by utilising Read Code - #9Ni – ‘Did not attend’. Practice Manager will be actively checking daily to ensure all DNAs have been read coded appropriately. This will also assist and support the monthly ‘DNA’ searches and reports.
Before policy is initiated the practice should check if there are any reasons a patient may be failing to attend for appointments. If this is the case actions should be put in place to help them with attending for appointments.
1) If a patient fails to attend an appointment on two separate occasions without notifying the practice or providing an explanation as to why they missed their appointment within the past 12 months, an initial letter will be sent to the patients containing:
The practice DNA policy
An offer to the patient to meet with the Practice Manager to discuss any problems they may have (social or clinical) which prevents them from informing the practice when they are unable to attend an appointment.
2) If a patient fails to attend a third appointment, then a final warning of missed appointments (DNA) letter is sent by the practice manager or the GP Partner explaining that failure to attend any further appointments, may at the discretion of the doctors, result in them being removed from the practice list.
3) Except in exceptional circumstances, failure to attend a fourth appointment will result in the patient being sent a letter informing them they have been removed as a patient from the practice list and they should find an alternative practice.