15,500 missed GP Practice appointments across Wiltshire in three months

An equivalent of 516 days of general practitioner time was lost during July –September 2016 because more than 15,500 GP, nurse and healthcare assistant appointments were missed across Wiltshire’s 55 GP Practices.

Known as ‘Did Not Attend’ appointments they have a huge impact on the health economy, prevent other patients from being seen and waste the time of ever-stretched doctors and nurses.

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is urging patients to take a few minutes to cancel their appointments if they are no longer required, or if they are unable to attend. Practices will then be able to offer those slots to other patients who require them and help to reduce appointment waiting times.

Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire CCG said:
Every missed appointment it is a missed opportunity for practices to see another patient. Between July and September that means practices could have seen another 15,500 patients, which is staggering. Simply by cancelling unwanted appointments, even if it is a few minutes before, it means that other patients have an opportunity to be seen more quickly and perhaps see their own GP. We were aware that most practices experience several DNAs each day, but the volumes we are seeing are quite frankly, shocking.

On average a GP will conduct 30 appointments per day and based on the total number of missed appointments for July – September 2016, the equivalent of 516 days of general practitioner time has been lost.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, a GP at Market Lavington Surgery explains on behalf of Wiltshire Practices:
As doctors, we understand that people lead busy lives, that plans often change and quite often many people feel better by the time of their pre-booked appointment, so needing to change or cancel it is not a problem – please just remember to let your surgery know.

At a time when NHS resources are stretched to the hilt, it’s really important that people understand the impact they have if they simply do not turn up. Everyone has responsibility to look after the NHS – it’s tax payers money after all – and we urge Wiltshire people to cancel when they don’t need the appointment so that those most in need are able to be seen more quickly.

Awarding of external audit contract

Following the abolition of the Audit Commission, and the passing of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, all Clinical Commissioning Groups are now required to appoint their own external auditor.

Following a recent tender process, overseen by an Auditor Panel (in accordance with the requirements of the Act), the CCG’s Governing Body has awarded the contract for external audit service to Grant Thornton LLP. The contract starts on 1st April 2017, and runs for three years, which means that Grant Thornton UK LLP will be responsible for the external audit for the financial years 2017/18 to 2019/2020. The contract was awarded with the option to extend by up to two more years.

Under the conditions of the Act, the Governing Body awards the contract, based on the advice of the Auditor Panel. The advice given was as follows:

“The Auditor Panel recommends to the Governing Body that the contract for external audit services should be awarded to Grant Thornton UK LLP. The Panel believe that the bidder showed comprehensive experience with the wider NHS, and had a good understanding of local issues, based on their experience of working with other local CCGs. They also showed a commitment to providing a high quality service, and a clear audit approach. The Panel believe that Grant Thornton evidenced a suitable strategy to manage the transition from the previous audit supplier, minimising the risk to the CCG. Finally, the Panel also believe that their bid provides value for money to the CCG.”

The NHS in Wiltshire – The challenges, our responses

Come along for an opportunity to find out what is happening to local health services in your area from local GPs, what it means for you and how you can help

Events are taking place on:

Tuesday 25 October – 6.30pm until 8.30pm
Civic Centre, Sambourne Road, Warminster, BA12 8LB

Thursday 27 October – 6.30pm until 8.30pm
Devizes Bowl Club, Long Street, Devizes, SN10 5BY

Tuesday 1 November – 6.30pm until 8.30pm
Melksham United Church, High Street, Melksham

We look forward to seeing you there.

People supported to Stay Well this Winter with free flu vaccination

As a major campaign launches to help keep people safe this winter, eligible people are being encouraged to get a free flu vaccination to help prevent serious illness.

Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group are supporting Public Health England’s Stay Well this Winter campaign, which launches today (October 12),  and aims to ensure people who are most at risk from suffering ill-health this winter get the support they need to prevent them becoming poorly.

To help with this, all GPs throughout the county are offering free flu vaccinations to:

  • all two, three or four year olds, i.e. born between 1 September 2011 and 31 August 2014
  • those aged six months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups
  • pregnant women
  • those aged 65 years and over
  • those in long-stay residential care homes
  • carers

In addition to this, if they prefer, eligible adults can access their free vaccination at many pharmacies and this year, for the first time in Wiltshire (not including Swindon), all children in school years 1, 2 and 3, i.e. born between 1 September 2008 and 31 August 2011, will be able to access the immunisation directly at their school.

As there are many different flu strains which change each year, even if people had the vaccination last year they should still take up this year’s offer and protect themselves again from the virus.

Flu is not the same as the common cold. It is caused by a different group of viruses and often tends to start quicker, is more severe and lasts longer. Some people are more susceptible to the effects of flu and for them, it can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or can make existing conditions worse. In the worst cases, flu can result in a stay in hospital, or even death.

Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public health, Jerry Wickham said:
“I would urge those eligible not to put off getting the vaccine as it’s the safest and most effective way to help people protect themselves from flu and reduce the risk of falling seriously ill.

“Winter can be a difficult time for some but with the collective support from our partners and ourselves we hope to give people the best chance to be safe and well.”

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group added,
“Flu is highly contagious and spreads rapidly, causing serious life threatening complications for those most at risk, such as the elderly, expectant mothers and people with long term conditions.  Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect these vulnerable people from catching flu.

“I urge everyone who is offered the vaccine for free on the NHS to have it. Please don’t underestimate the severity of flu, get your jab now to protect yourself through the winter and stay flu safe.”

For advice and information about the flu vaccination, people should speak to their GP, practise nurse or pharmacist. For more information people should also visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk or www.wiltshireccg.co.uk.