Links Medical Centre 4 Hermitage Place, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 8BW | Tel: 0131 554 1036

Practice DNA Policy

DNA – Did Not Attend Policy

A ‘DNA’ (Did Not Attend) is an occasion on which a patient does not attend a booked appointment with a member of the practice team without contacting the surgery to cancel prior to the appointment time.

In 2018 the average number of appointments lost each month due to DNA was 120. This is the equivalent of 20 hours wasted each month. Over a year this is the equivalent of 32 working days of clinical time wasted each year. The loss of this clinical time has a detrimental effect on the service that we provide to patients and we wish to keep this to a minimum. We feel that it is reasonable to ask patients to let us know in advance if they do not intend or are not able to keep their appointment. Patients who are experiencing ongoing difficulties in keeping their appointments should discuss this with the surgery.

The surgery reserves the right to remove patients from the practice list if they DNA three appointments within a 12 month period.

When a patient does not attend an appointment without giving advance notice the doctor will code the missed appointment on the patient record. This generates a DNA letter that is sent to the patient.

DNA Letter 1

The purpose of this letter is to remind patients of the importance of attending appointments.

DNA Letter 2

If a patient DNAs two appointments within a twelve month period a second DNA letter is generated, explaining that should there be a further DNA within the twelve month period that the surgery would consider removing the patient from the practice list.

DNA Letter 3 

In the event of a third DNA within a twelve-month period, a further letter would be sent to the patient, the case will be reviewed by a member of the medical team and the patient may be removed from the practice list. In this eventuality, NHS Lothian will be informed and the patient will need to register with an alternative practice.


No patient will be removed from the practice list without due consideration of their individual circumstances and reasons for non-attendance. The purpose of this policy is not to penalise patients with valid medical reasons for non-attendance.

If the practice is aware of special circumstances surrounding a patient’s non-attendance, for example, patients who have been admitted to hospital or have dementia, the medical team reserve the right to exclude the patient from management under this policy.

Patients concerned regarding their management under this policy or who are having problems attending should speak to the surgery. Lack of organisation or forgetting is not an acceptable reason for non-attendance.