Punish patients who miss appointments with £5 says GP

And she warned: “Without a radical solution to an unsustainable problem I genuinely fear the NHS may crumble.”

Doctors estimate that one in 20 people missing appointments means 10 million consultations are wasted every year.

A 10-minute slot with a GP costs around £25, meaning the health service is taking a £250million annual hit from so-called DNA, or “Did Not Attend”, patients.

Dr Jarvis, who works in west London, said: “I care passionately about our NHS so I’ve begun to think the unthinkable.

“Maybe we should charge patients not for using the NHS, but for abusing it? I have been a GP for 27 years and I have started saying this for the very first time – a £5 charge would be enough to deter many people. I wonder how many patients stop and think about that when they realise they missed their appointment? Worse still, I wonder how many care?”

The Daily Express has told how there is a shortage of 6,000 GPs in England, with some patients wait- ing five weeks to see a doctor.

In some areas six GPs deal with 14,000 patients and see 60 a day – leaving them burned out, stressed and threatening to quit the job.

The Royal College of General Practitioners has said the system is “close to breaking point”.

Speaking exclusively to the Daily Express Dr Jarvis, clinical director at online service Patient. info, said: “I look on in horror at the way our beloved NHS is abused by so many who depend on it.

“It shows huge disrespect for the NHS and a complete disregard for patients who struggle every day to get access to their doctor.”

Park House Medical Centre in Nottingham said that last week it offered 334 GP appointments and 444 nurse slots but 40 patients simply did not turn up.

Dr Sandeep Kapur, a GP in Anerley, south-east London, said: “I think the time has come to have a system to address this growing problem, perhaps a three-strikes-and-you-are-out approach before a fine is levied.”

Dr Ian Campbell, a family GP for more than 30 years, said: “Patients fail to turn up for many reasons. I don’t support a charge but I would call for a national campaign to raise awareness.”

NHS England said: “We urge everyone to let their practice know in good time if they are going to miss their appointment so GPs can treat those in greater need.”

Daily Express :: Health Feed

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