Nearly a fifth of appointments at one Bolton GP practice resulted in non-attendance, new figures show – costing the health service thousands.

The figures also show the number of face-to-face appointments carried out at GP surgeries in Bolton.

According to NHS data, more than 18 per cent of appointments booked at Breightmet Health Centre's The Dunstan Partnership in February resulted in a non-attendance – the highest in Bolton and the second-highest in Greater Manchester.

Across Greater Manchester, the practice with the highest level of non-attendance in February was Dr Bhima’s Surgery in Rochdale, with more than 20 per cent of appointments resulting in a non-attendance.

Sign up to our newsletters to get the latest stories sent straight to your inbox.

In England, Farnham Dene Medical Practice, in Surrey, reported the highest non-attendance rate, with more than 30 per cent of appointments resulting in non-attendance.

The average practice non-attendance rate across the country was 4.57 per cent, with Greater Manchester at 6.2 per cent and Bolton at 6.7 per cent.

Overall, the top 10 practices for missed appointments were:

  1. The Dunstan Partnership (18 per cent).
  2. 3D Medical Centre (13 per cent).
  3. Shanti Medical Centre (11 per cent).
  4. Deane Clinic (10 per cent).
  5. Great Lever One (10 per cent).
  6. Bolton General Practice (10 per cent).
  7. Dr Uddin & Dr Anwar, The Halliwell Surgery (9 per cent).
  8. Dr C Hallikeri & Partners, Little Lever Health Centre (9 per cent).
  9. The Oaks Family Practice (9 per cent).
  10. Beehive Surgery (9 per cent).

The Bolton News: Falling – the number of qualified GPs in north east Essex has fallen from 159 in 2016 to 143 in

Missed appointments cost NHS millions

According to the NHS, a missed appointment costs the health service £30 on average.

With 10,521 non-attended GP appointments in Bolton in February, this would add up to a cost of more than £300,000. In Greater Manchester, the cost rises to more than £2.4 million, with more than 80,000 appointments not attended.

In England, nearly 1.3 million appointments went unattended across more than 6,000 GPs – with an estimated cost of more than £38 million.

Patients waiting more than 28 days for appointments

Also revealed was the proportion of patients waiting more than 28 days for an appointment.

In Bolton, Mandalay Medical Centre took the top spot, with more than 13 per cent of appointments made more than 28 days before the date of the appointment.

In England, The Writtle Surgery in Chelmsford had the highest rate of appointments where patients waited more than 28 days, at 29 per cent.

On average, 3.8 per cent of appointments were scheduled more than 28 days after they were booked.

Bolton’s St Helens Road Practice had the highest proportion of same day appointments in the borough, with more than 60 per cent of appointments happening on the day they were booked.

Some practices have fewer face-to-face appointments

Face-to-face appointments were also more common at some practices than others.

Bradford Street Surgery had the lowest proportion of face-to-face appointments in Bolton, at 26.3 per cent of appointments and the highest proportion of telephone appointments, at 64 per cent of appointments.

Across Bolton, around 66 per cent of appointments are face-to-face on average, with 28 per cent by telephone.

These are the 10 practices with the lowest proportion of face-to-face appointments.

  1. Bradford Street Surgery (26 per cent).
  2. Octagon Medical Centre (45 per cent).
  3. The Dunstan Partnership (49 per cent).
  4. Spring House Surgery (52 per cent).
  5. Wyresdale Road Surgery (54 per cent).
  6. Charlotte Street Surgery (55 per cent).
  7. Dr Uddin & Dr Anwar, The Halliwell Surgery (56 per cent).
  8. Fig Tree Medical Practice (57 per cent).
  9. Cornerstone Surgery (58 per cent).
  10. Tonge Fold Health Centre (58 per cent).

Orient House Medical Centre had all appointments listed as 'Unknown'.

The Bolton News: (PA)

Follow The Bolton News on Facebook, Instagram, X (Twitter), and TikTok.

Rob Bellingham, chief officer for commissioning and population health at NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care, said: “Making sure that people can see or speak to their GP in a timely and easy way is a top priority for NHS Greater Manchester.

“Last year we published our primary care blueprint ­– a five-year plan to improve access to primary care services. The plan aims to ensure same-day urgent access to general practice where there is an urgent need and tackle the “8am rush” in general practice by investing in better phone and digital systems.

“We plan to simplify the processes to request online access and encourage the use of the NHS App to book appointments to give patients greater flexibility.

“We have also recruited to additional roles within general practice, to work alongside GPs and nurses, to ensure patients receive the care they need as quickly as possible.

“Practice teams across Greater Manchester have worked hard to achieve a record number of appointments in January and February 2024, with over 1.5 million appointments in January and over 1.4 million in February.

“Across Greater Manchester, there has also been a 13 per cent rise in the number of appointments given, compared to a 9 per cent rise nationally (pre-pandemic 2019 compared to 2023).

“Practice teams have achieved this in the face of increased pressure and rising demand, and they continue to work hard to meet the needs of patients.

“However, we're asking patients to please play their part too.

“We understand circumstances change, but it is important that if you have an appointment booked in with your GP that you no longer need or are unable to make, that you please let your practice know so that the appointment can be freed up for others who are ill.”

The Dunstan Partnership, Mandalay Medical Centre, and Bradford Street Surgery were contacted for comment.

If you have a story, I cover the whole borough of Bolton. Please get in touch at