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.
Are the local GPs thick or something? Here in my area of France if you are late for an appointment with the doctor and you have not called to indicate such you go to the end of the line and the next person gets your time slot - so simple.
From the way the British GPs mumble I can only assume that if someone misses an appointment the doc sits in his/her office doing nothing for that time slot rather than seeing the next patient - stupidity compounded.
At my local surgery when you arrive for an appointment you let the receptionist know you are there, either personally or through a touchscreen. There therefore didn't ought to be any unnecessary waiting while calling for a patient who isn't there. I still usually have to wait for 15 mins plus after the appointment time, so thank goodness some people don't show up.
(Note to surgeries - sticking up a sign saying how many people missed appointments last week just comes across as annoying nagging to people who are, in order to read it, THERE.)
Doctors keeping to appointment times is an issue in itself and probably one that would be helped if people cancelled appointments they couldn't attend allowing doctors to reschedule.
Personally I'm all for some kind of penalty for ignorant people who can't be bothered to pick up a phone. I'm not sure how effective it would be though. I would guess the bulk of these cretins would be chav types with an over inflated sense of self importance.
I bet if they were given a bill for a missed appointment, the last thing they would do is fork out for it. You're more likely to see them in the local rag the next day complaining that it wasn't their fault because the bus didn't turn up or something.
Billing for missed appointments would probably be ample fodder for Angry People in Local Newspapers, but the logistics of imposing penalties and actually collecting on them would likely put more strain on the system than the missed appointments themselves.
No GP is going to refuse to see a patient if they don't pay a fine and even if they do, it's off to A+E instead, moving the problem to a different doorstep.
I've missed the odd appointment due to being forgetful and/or disorganised but as Anonymous writes, when was the last time an appointment actually took place at the appointed time? I appear to have forgotten that, too.
Heh! I'm going thought the "find out what the problem is" routine again. Had the bloods, urine and BP done with the nurse today. She says, somewhat optimistically, to book an appointment with the GP to discuss the results for a week's time. Ptooie! A month, more like. Just as well I'm not dying. At least, I hope I'm not dying. Just yet anyway.
I had the first appointment of the day recently and the doctor was 30+ minutes late! So any penalty for late attendees should definitely be balanced by compensation for late doctors.
But phoning my surgery is an ordeal - it takes on average 5 minutes to escape the disembodied voice loops, only to be then fobbed off with the "no appointments today, try tomorrow routine". So I quite understand people who don't bother to phone to say they will miss an appointment - it's just too much trouble with the crap phone system they (& most other surgerys too I hear) use to avoid contact.
Don't bill them for missing the appointment, that clearly wouldn't work.
Instead bill them for making the appointment, and return the money when they turn up on the right day at the right place and roughly the right time.
Of course it'll never happen, you can readily imagine the hassle it would cause to the administrators, the grey areas (what constitutes "on time"? etc etc) plus all the problems arising from keeping cash on the premises. And the shroud-wavers would have a field day of course.
"Are the local GPs thick or something?"
I've not been impressed on my (few) visits. Mostly tick-boxers and referrers.
"(Note to surgeries - sticking up a sign saying how many people missed appointments last week just comes across as annoying nagging to people who are, in order to read it, THERE."
Like those 'don't assault our staff!' signs, it's usually a guarantee of poor service!
"I bet if they were given a bill for a missed appointment, the last thing they would do is fork out for it. You're more likely to see them in the local rag the next day..."
Oh, so likely! Still, more grist for my (and Scaryduck's) mill!
"She says, somewhat optimistically, to book an appointment with the GP to discuss the results for a week's time."
And that's another thing - why can't SHE arrange the appointment there and then?
"I had the first appointment of the day recently and the doctor was 30+ minutes late!"
Did you at least get an apology? If my vet is more than 4 mins late, she's distraught about it!
"Instead bill them for making the appointment, and return the money when they turn up on the right day at the right place and roughly the right time."
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