Top doctor says patients should be fined for failing to show-up for GP appointment

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A leading doctor has said that patients who fail to show up to GP appointments should be fined £10.

NHS data has revealed that 40,000 people per day in England fail to show up to their appointments.

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Meanwhile, other patients are struggling to secure a slot, meaning that many have to wait for weeks for a non-urgent GP appointment.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, a GP and clinical director, told the Daily Express that missed appointments were “incredibly frustrating” for patients and doctors.

What did Dr Jarvis say? 

Dr Javis said she supported the idea of fining those who fail to turn up a small amount, between £5 and £10. The average GP appointment costs the NHS £39. 

She said: "GP appointments are very precious because there aren’t enough of us.

"If people choose to make an appointment and then not turn up, that’s an appointment that could have gone to somebody else.

"I’ve always been vehemently against the idea of fining people for using the NHS, but I think that’s very different to fining people for abusing the NHS."

“If you have an appointment and you suddenly find at short notice that you can’t make it, everybody has mobile phones. How difficult would it be to send a message or drop the practice a note online?"

“The problem we’ve got is the practicalities. Who’s going to collect the fine? You can’t expect receptionists to do it.”

What else has been said? 

Professor Karol Sikora, a consultant oncologist and professor of medicine agreed and said fines for those who fail to show up "without fair notice could be considered".

He said: “Failing to attend a GP appointment without a timely cancellation is selfish and a waste of everybody’s time."

“Millions of people are desperate to see a doctor. By taking up valuable resources you are denying somebody else the opportunity which could potentially save their life."

However, Dennis Reed, director of over-60s campaign group Silver Voices, said it would be more effective to warn patients there will be consequences for not showing up and no-showers should be removed from a GP's list instead of fined. 

Figures reveal there were 1.075,661 appointments missed in Januray, 1,076,215 in February, 1,288,983 in March and 1,044,698 in April.

A culmination of all the skipped appointments could pay for the salaries over 2,000 full-time 8,000 community nurses, or fund 200,000 cataract operations and 50,000 hip replacements.

A version of this article originally appeared on NationalWorld.com