Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews Acute Perspective

David Oliver: Missed GP appointments are no scandal

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l545 (Published 12 February 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l545

Re: David Oliver: Missed GP appointments are no scandal

We agree that the 'feckless' patient story about missed appointments is facile and the common media response, often Draconian, is disappointing.

Moreover our recent research which analysed around 1/6 of Scottish GP patients data tells us it is downright dangerous.(https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-018-1234-0 and https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l485)

Patients who have a pattern of missing appointments experience high socio-economic deprivation, have more long term health conditions, and patients with mental ill health who miss appointments have unacceptable premature mortality.

Practice characteristics are at least as important as patient characteristics in terms of frequency of missed appointments so we need to examine accessibility of services for this high risk group: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(17)30217-7

The RCGP has used our evidence to rebut this media strategy and we would like to see others do the same.

Competing interests: No competing interests

18 February 2019
Andrea E Williamson
GP and Clinical Senior University Lecturer
Ross McQueenie, David A Ellis, Philip Wilson
University of Glasgow
GPPC, SoMDN, 1 Horselethill Road, Glasgow G12 9LX