Did Not Attend (DNA)


Approximately 150 appointments per month are ‘Did Not Attend’ (DNA), i.e. the patient does not turn up for the appointment and does not contact the surgery in advance to cancel or change appointment.

The effects of this are:

  • An increase in the waiting time for appointments
  • A potential risk to the health of the patient
  • Frustration for both staff and patients
  • A waste of resources
  • A financial implication on the Primary Care


To ensure all patients receive access to a doctor in a timely manner, each patient that fails to arrive for a pre-booked appointment will receive a letter reminding them of the appointment that was booked and missed.

A patient will be advised of our DNA policy once a clinician confirms a patient’s first DNA incident. Any patient that DNAs a total of three times, within a 12 month rolling period, will be given written notice to register with an alternative GP practice.

Purpose and scope

The practice’s aim is to improve appointment attendance ensuring all patients receive access to a GP in a timely manner


Where a patient with a chronic condition, or is otherwise deemed to be “at risk”, fails to attend a screening or a recall appointment there may be an implied duty on the practice to follow-up the reason for non-attendance to ensure that the patient’s health is not at risk.

The responsible clinician (usually the doctor or the nurse holding the clinic) will be responsible for initiating action to contact the patient by telephone to determine the reason for the failure to attend, and where possible re-arrange the appointment.

Where a new appointment is arranged, this is to be followed up with a telephone call, the day prior to the new appointment date, to check that they will attend.

The clinician will have overall responsibility for the individual patient follow-up and attendance, although the administration aspects may be delegated.

Any DNA letters that are sent to patients must be coded onto the clinical system at each non-attendance.

Appointments should be cancelled at least 2 hours in advance.