No show patients cash shock

PATIENTS who fail to show up for doctors' appointments cost Suffolk's NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds, it emerged today.

PATIENTS who fail to show up for doctors' appointments cost Suffolk's NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds, it emerged today.

Every month about 100 patients miss their appointments at the average Suffolk GP practice - wasting about four hours of consulting time a month with GPs, nurses and health care assistants.

Bill Robinson, chief executive of the Suffolk local medical committee which represents GPs, said although it was impossible to be sure of the cost of the no-shows it would be hundreds of thousands of pounds.

He added: “It is a lot of time that is wasted and every missed appointment adds up.


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“It is a growing problem as the number of missed appointments is starting to increase with extended opening times.

“GPs sometimes threaten people with removal from their lists if they keep missing appointments but all that would do is transfer them somewhere else because everyone is entitled to be on a list. So GPs just put up with it.”

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Mr Robinson added that he was against the idea of charging patients who missed their appointments as the administrative costs would be too high.

He said: “It isn't the answer though I can understand why some people want to bring that in.

“We just need to get the message across that if you can't make the appointment please call up to cancel.

“Surgeries can always offer the slot to someone else, even if it is late notice.”

Should there be penalties for patients who consistently fail to attend medical appointments? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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