GPs support charging non-show patients

MORE than 80 per cent of GPs in the East of England support the idea of charging patients who miss appointments, new research has found.Figures from the Developing Patients Partnership show 707,296 GP appointments are missed by patients in the region every year while 347,546 practice nurse appointments are unattended.

MORE than 80 per cent of GPs in the East of England support the idea of charging patients who miss appointments, new research has found.

Figures from the Developing Patients Partnership show 707,296 GP appointments are missed by patients in the region every year while 347,546 practice nurse appointments are unattended.

The survey found 85pc of GPs supported the idea of charging patients for appointments they missed and 62pc agreed with striking off patients who persistently fail to turn up.

But GPs in Suffolk said last night they did not support either idea.

Barham GP Dr Paul Thomas said: “The people who miss appointments are people who need to have the appointment. “It would just alienate patients against their doctors.

“At the end of the day, I have so many slots in the morning I have to carry on working until I see everyone and it's quite a relief to have someone not turn up. It gives us a chance to catch up on other things.”

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Saxmundham GP Dr John Havard added: “It's far better to rely on patients to accept responsibility by telling them the impact it has on our day-to-day work.

“I would be worried about the cost of administering and collecting the money. I think striking patients off is a heavy-handed approach.”

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