Darlington surgeries report 2,000 missed GP appointments


Thousands of appointments were missed by patients at GP surgeries in Darlington last month.

In May, a total of 2,286 appointments were missed at the town’s 11 GP practices – prompting NHS bosses to urge people to play their part in helping it cope with rising demand.

Services are struggling to cope with rising demand and readers have reported struggling to get appointments.

Denmark Street surgery had the most missed appointments during the month, with 371. Close behind was Whinfield with 307 , Blacketts with 298 and Neasham Road with 275.

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Only three surgeries had fewer than 100 missed appointments. Rockliffe had 71, Parkgate had 59 and the lowest number of missed appointments was at St George’s, which had 54.

A spokesperson for NHS Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We would urge patients to continue to ‘play their part’ to help GP practices cope with rising demand, and if they no longer require an appointment this should be cancelled in advance.

“We recognise there may be many reasons why patients may miss an appointment and in some cases this could be an indication that something more serious may be happening for that individual.

“Every appointment at a GP practice is precious, especially at a time when services are struggling to cope with rising patient demand, and a missed appointment may mean someone who really needs care can’t access it when they need to.”

Missed appointments by surgery (May 1-31)

Blacketts – 298

Carmel – 157

Clifton Court – 247

Denmark Street – 371

Moorlands – 240

Neasham Road – 275

Orchard Road – 207

Parkgate – 59

Rockliffe – 71

St George’s – 54

Whinfield – 307

Total – 2286


Meanwhile, CCG chief officer David Gallagher has spoken out to condemn rising levels of abuse directed at staff at GP surgeries.

A survey of receptionists at surgeries in Darlington, carried out earlier this year, found 85 per cent of receptionists at the town’s 11 GP surgeries have suffered verbal abuse over the past two years, with some reporting physical attacks. 

A recent Institute of General Practice Management (IGPM) campaign highlighted the scale of abuse across the country, with 75 percent of GP staff experiencing threatening behaviour from patients daily and 13 percent at least once a week.

Mr Gallagher said: “We understand that people may get frustrated if they find it difficult to get through to their practice on the phone or to make an appointment with a GP or member of a practice team when they want to, but taking those frustrations out on a receptionist, a nurse, a manager or a doctor makes it much harder for staff to do their job and deliver the care that people need.

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“It is never acceptable to abuse or assault someone…especially when they are trying to help”.

Darlington Primary Care Network (PCN), which is made up of GPs in the town, asks anyone who has an appointment but cannot attend or no longer needs the appointment to call to cancel or rearrange.


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