Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Dates with doctors

Should people be fined for not keeping doctors appointments? 10m GP and 5m practice nurse appointments were missed last year according to a survey, the primary cause being "forgetfulness". A £20 charge for missed appointments would concentrate the mind on reducing such 'forgetfulness'.

However, GPs could improve appointment availability by keeping surgeries open longer, making them more convenient for people in full time employment. Unfortunately, no market mechanism exists to motivate GPs to be responsive to 'customer' demand.

Do missed appointments really cost the NHS £180m? Doctors must have other work to do when someone misses an appointment. It might even save the NHS money if no drugs have to be prescribed!!


Serf said...

Doctors appointments are not a big deal, but surgery is. A decent sized fine for a no show could really save huge sums of money.

Wat Tyler said...

I've just been "fined" £40 for a no-show with my (German) private dentist. And I won't be able to return until I pay.

Fair enough- my own stupid fault.

Privatise GPs I say.

Snafu said...

Wat, I'm not too sure about totally privatising GP surgeries but I fail to see why people shouldn't be expected to make a small contribution per GP visit.

As regards being fined by your dentist, what's happened to NHS dentistry!?! If NHS dentistry was available nationally, you wouldn't need to go private and be fined anyway!!

Presumably, fines won't be introduced for missed GP appointments as poorer people would avoid returning to the GP if they had a previous fines to pay!!

Stevo in HCM said...

My dentist back in the UK went private a couple of years ago which was okay as I have health insurance, he immediately sent out a letter to all his patients (very appropriate word)and put up a flyer in the waiting room informing that a charge would be made for missed appointments etc, when I called and asked him if I showed up on time and then had to sit and wait for an additional half hour until he had done with the previous patient if I would get a monetary refund he acted as if I had requested something illegal. These guys seem to think they are the only ones with a schedule to keep.

Gary Monro said...

I suppose the time that wasn't spent dealing with the no-shows amounts to the working years of a number of GPs and surgeons.

If the number of no-shows for one GP in one year amount to a whole week of work for that GP that he didn't do then for every 52 GPs you find you have a whole GP's worth of work paid for but not actually carried out.

I'm being a bit simplistic here but you see the point...