Politician slams patients who waste doctors’ time

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A former NHS physiotherapist says the cost of failed doctor’s appointments is ‘shameful’.

Cllr Valerie Letheren brought up the issue at this morning’s annual council debate after a speech from Matt Tee of the NHS Confederation on the challenges facing the health service, including financial cutbacks.

She said: “What worries me is the amount of money that’s wasted on the cost of failed appointments, which I think is absolutely shameful.

“I always believed in charging for prescriptions because I knew people hoarded piles and piles of pills at home but never took them.

“Also,could something be done about the cost of doctors’ home visits? My daughter-in-law (who is a GP) has been called out just because the person couldn’t be bothered to catch the bus to come to the surgery.

“These are examples of areas where money is so easily wasted because the public don’t respect the cost to the community.”

In response to Cllr Letheren’s questions, Mr Tee said he felt charging for missed appointments would not save a significant enough amont of money to make any real difference.

He said: “I think the super-sensitivity of proposing the charges has put all the parties off in the past, but I don’t think the money saved is significant enough to warrant introducing it.

“It’s like hospitals who increase their car parking charges – it doesn’t take them long to realise that it is not the way to do it!”