Over 290 people failed to attend their GP/Nurse appointment at UEA’s Medical Centre last month.

Over 49 hours of appointments were wasted, leading to a strain on available resources and efficiency at the centre.

Figures given to Concrete by the UEA Medical Centre show throughout 2017 there was a total of 3705 appointments which weren’t attended, a figure which equals 617.5 hours of clinical time. In December, 294 appointments were missed.

This brings the monthly average for unattended appointments to 6.2 percent throughout 2017, an increase on the previous year.

Although there are no conclusive figures published by the NHS, its estimated that the total number of missed appointments annually is anywhere between 12 and 14 million, costing the NHS an approximate figure of £1billion a year, a figure which comes out to being less than 1 percent of the NHS total budget.

The Government has been looking into potential ways to combat this strain on the NHS. In November the Health and Social Care Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said he approved “in principle” of plans to fine people for missed appointments.

These plans were also backed by over 50 percent of GP’s in a survey by the GP Magazine ‘Pulse.’ However, they were dismissed over fears it could impact the lowest income people the most.

Commenting on the missed appointments, SU Welfare Community and Diversity Officer India Edwards highlighted the inconclusive nature of the figures, and pushed for “further context and interrogation.”

Ms Edwards added: “What’s really required is a proper review of student access to medical services on campus which can look in detail both at this issue, the med certs issue from the summer and the huge increase in referrals from the UEA Medical Centre to the local NHS Mental Health trust in recent years.”

The number of missed appointments currently headlines the Medical Centre’s website.

The Medical Centre urges students who can’t attend their appointments to let them know in advance.