Sheffield GPs have launched a fresh crackdown on people missing appointments - with a little help from city school children.
GPs at surgeries in Chapeltown and High Green are part of a pilot to urge people to cancel their appointments if they can't attend.
People missing appointments without letting their practice know costs the NHS in Sheffield millions each year.
Chapelgreen GP Practice worked with Ecclesfield School to create ‘DNA (Did Not Attend) Man’, the superhero figurehead for the campaign which is now being rolled out across their neighbouring practices.
The GP group has been praised after introducing small changes over a six month period. These include approaching patients who fail to attend on a regular basis, and adding a ‘patient promise’ at the end of each appointment booking, asking people to promise to cancel the appointment is they can’t attend.
Practice bosses said they've seen a 'significant reduction' and are confident to bring the figure down even further.
DNA Man was initially designed by Henry Moody, son of GP partner Dr Nicola Moody. The project was introduced at Ecclesfield School for pupils to create a story and a cartoon strip for the superhero.
The cartoons will be displayed on health information screens in GP waiting rooms and DNA Man will also be raising awareness with a range of promotional material.
Jemma Smith, of Chapelgreen Practice said: “We’ve enjoyed educating and involving the extremely creative students at Ecclesfield School. We have already shared DNA Man with Ecclesfield, Fox Hill, Mill Road and Grenoside GP surgeries, but we hope we can share these resources with many other practices across the city.”
Nicky Normington, NHS Sheffield CCG North locality manager said, “DNA Man is a great example of how a simple idea can be spread to benefit local GP practices.
"When people don’t turn up for GP appointments it costs the NHS money and drives up waiting times for other patients. All practices have a problem with people not attending appointments from time to time, so sharing Chapelgreen Practice’s hard work to tackle these challenges together will save money and is a win win for all.”