Patients who deliberately miss appointments should be charged, a GP has suggested.
Shocking figures uncovered during an investigation by a Southend Patient group reveal missed appointments are costing the local NHS service thousands of pounds a month and extending waiting lists for patients who genuinely need to see their GPs.
Southend’s Patient Participation Group Forum has been investigating the figures at each practice.
They discovered about six per cent of appointments are missed each month, each wasting time GPs could have spent seeing other patients.I’m all for it! Just think how much money my mother will make, when she gets compensated for all the 10:30 appointments she’s had that have seen her still sitting in the waiting room at 11:15!
It will work the same way for patients, won’t it?
Dr Krishna Chaturvedi who runs the Southbourne Grove surgery, said the problem was rife and called for GPs to be able to make similar charges as dentists for missed appointments.
He said: “Every week there are large numbers of patients who simply don’t turn up and all we can do is inform patients what a problem that is and ask them to please phone us to cancel so we can see other patients.
“This has been a problem for a long time and I don’t understand why it is taking so long to resolve it. If you don’t turn up to a dentist appointment you have to pay so I don’t see why we can’t do the same, but it has to come from Government. We can’t change the rules.”
Dr Chaturvedi added: “This also a problem with A&E departments which are already stretched. Often we find out that someone who hasn’t turned up for an emergency appointment has gone to A&E instead. It’s not necessary as they could be quite easily treated by their GP and they don’t pay there either.
“Often genuinely sick patients, including children, have to wait longer than they should because of this problem.”
“Some patients are waiting two to three weeks for appointments and that is completely unacceptable but DNAs don’t help. Patients have rights but those rights come with responsibilities.”Yet there’s no responsibility on GPs to see patients at their appointed time, I note.