Grantham Journal readers say, ‘Time-wasters at doctors’ surgeries should be fined’

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Many Journal readers and patients have responded to last week’s front page story, suggesting those who miss GP appointments should be fined.

The Journal reported how thousands of appointments are missed at Grantham’s five surgeries every year. Last year, each surgery recorded more than 1,000 missed appointments – one surgery, St John’s Medical Centre on London Road, reported 5,500 wasted appointments, which cause frustration for both staff and patients

Each surgery was outspoken about the situation. St Peter’s Hill practice manager Catherine Dickinson said, on average, about two weeks of a clinician’s time is wasted every month.

The story prompted many readers to comment on our Facebook page.

Sue McQuinn said: “Maybe there should be a charge for missed appointments. People take our free NHS so much for granted.”

Shirley Smart said that where she lives they do get fined. She said: “Here in Australia we get charged $20 for a missed appointment.”

Debbie Cook said: “Apply a charge for missed appoinments. My dentist does this and missed appointments are rare, he says.”

Josett Day commented: “If you miss three appointments take them off the GP’s register. That’s what the dentists do.”

Frances Abernethy, of Grantham, wrote to the Journal to say: “ I think there is a mentality of a small minority – ‘oh, it’s the NHS, it’s free’. That needs to change. It is unfair on the genuine people who need an appointment urgently and who are ill.”

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