NHS experiences millions of cancelled appointments as employees cannot attend due to work commitments

Over half of employees have had to cancel or change medical appointments due to work commitments fuelling a call for video consultations.

AIG Life, a company that underwrites life insurance has found that 52 per cent of employees have had to cancel or change medical appointments due to work, leading to 64 per cent saying getting advice via video on their phones or tablet would be far easier.

Employees (59 per cent) who do manage to go to a medical appointment during the workday say they feel “guilty” about it as their colleagues have to cover for them.

NHS data also shows that 15 million appointments with general practitioners (GPs), nurses, therapists and other practice staff are wasted each year as people do not turn up or cancel last minute.

Nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of employees have admitted it is not their employer’s fault, as they are flexible about time off for appointments, as well as 39 per cent saying their GP offers times outside of normal working hours.

Nearly half (45 per cent) said one of the reasons why they find it hard to attend a medical appointment during a workday is that the surgery is far from the office.

Alison Esson, propositions manager at AIG Life, said

The cost of cancelled appointments is a drain on the NHS budget and causes real problems for GPs and their staff, despite efforts to be flexible. Yet we’re all so diligent about our jobs that people find it’s difficult to take time out of the working day to attend appointments because they worry about their workload and putting pressure on others.

Coordinating busy lives with work pressure and appointment times can be a tough juggling act, with the inevitable risk that sometimes things get dropped. But technology can ease the strain. Video consultations with a GP, for example, can be a solution for many of us, which is where services such as Smart Health can be a very valuable additional service for customers.

This research was obtained by asking the opinion of 2,008 employees.