COTSWOLDS doctors are backing a No Show campaign to help reduce the number of missed appointments.

The campaign has highlighted that there were 187,000 missed appointments in Gloucestershire GP surgeries and hospitals last year - 30,000 hours of NHS time wasted. The figures breakdown as more than 60,000 hospital appointments missed last year, along with 125,000 GP surgery appointments.

The NHS works hard to ensure any appointments which become free are given to someone else but, if none of them were filled, it would cost the NHS in Gloucestershire £13m a year.

An extra 100,000 appointments for patients are being made available across the county’s 75 practices over the next year. They will mainly be provided by GPs and nurses, with clinical pharmacists, paramedics, mental health workers and physiotherapists also now working in local surgeries to offer a greater range of skills and services and freeing up GP time.

Cotswold Medical Practice staff have been taking action to reduce the number of missed appointments across its Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach surgeries.

Dr Caroline Bennett, the Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group lead for the North Cotswolds, said: “We send out texts to our patients with mobiles to remind them about their appointments and anyone who has missed three appointments gets written to or called by the practice.

“Everyone needs to cancel an appointment from time to time but we would ask that patients call to let us know. This appointment could then be given to another person in need.

“As practices we are working together to help create more appointments at evenings and weekends to help give people more choice for when they visit the surgery to help fit in with busy lives.”

Dr Sean Elyan, medical director and consultant oncologist at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “When people fail to turn up, it is a lost opportunity for another patient to be seen in a more timely way.

"If we could reduce the number of missed appointments, we would be able to treat many more patients a year.

"Through improvements to our switchboard and booking office, we have made it easier for patients to get in touch and change or cancel their appointments.”

To cancel a hospital appointment, patients should call the telephone number on their appointment letter which should get them straight through to the department they need.

Alternatively, they can email