More than 10,000 GP appointments have been missed since April last year.

Health Minister Lawrie Hooper says that some practices have higher did not attend (DNA) rates than others.

He said in this week’s sitting of Tynwald that GPs routinely monitored the number of missed appointments in order to identify trends and potential causes for DNAs.

‘Practices attempt to tailor appointments according to the needs of their patients,’ Mr Hooper said.

‘In terms of following up appointments, GP practices will often write to patients who repeatedly do not attend appointments to remind them of the importance of attending.

‘In some cases, the clinician may decide to follow up a patient who failed to attend with a letter or telephone call especially if a patient is considered vulnerable.’

Douglas North and former health minister MHK David Ashford, who asked the question, said that he had heard of no one who had missed an appointment who had been pro-actively contacted by their surgery to be asked why they didn’t attend.

He added that there was ‘value’ in finding out why people miss their GP appointments.

Mr Hooper explained that one of the reasons behind this could be that when a surgery calls a patient who has missed their appointment, it could show as a private number.

‘How many people would recognise their GP’s number?’, he asked the members.