Star readers react to a top NHS doctor saying that missed GP appointments should be subject to a fine

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A leading doctor recently said that patients who fail to show up to GP appointments should be fined £10. His comments come after NHS data has revealed that 40,000 people per day fail to show up to their appointments.

We asked our readers what they thought about the doctors comments, read those in full here.

Here are a selection of our readers thoughts and opinions on what was said:

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Rachel See started things off by sharing her frustration at actually being able to get an appointment in the first place, “Chance would be a fine thing.”

Young handsome doctor working night shift in hospital   Young handsome doctor working night shift in hospital
Young handsome doctor working night shift in hospital

Hazel Kennedy is unsure though, “I really don’t know how this is going to work because it makes an assumption that doctors will be seeing patients face to face . Whilst ever there’s telephone consultations which seem to have no specific time slot and people are often rung up when they can’t talk it isn’t feasible.”

Peter Hourihan’s view was supported by other readers who agreed with his take that, “every one (appointment) they cancelled for the public we should get £20”, a point that would be popular but I doubt taxpayers would feel too chuffed at forking out for more ‘perceived failures’. £20 would be nice though, just perhaps not so feasible in reality.

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Michael Booker is taking no prisoners here, he says that people who don’t turn up, “Should be fined more.....same goes for dentist appointments as well.”

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Janet Utley was curious to know, “What happens when you have an appointment and wait over an hr and you don’t get to see one suppose that’s different”, that’s a delay though… often outside of the control of that particular practice, I’d suppose.

A view, Judy Zaninovich shared, “What should happen to the doctor when he is late seeing patients for their appointments?” I guess… it’s very inconvenient but maybe there isn’t enough supportive resource there for the doctor?

“And, just HOW do you collect that??? Asks a practice manager with 30 years of experience. Great idea but impossible to enforce.”

Ronnie Walshaw seems to be all for a fine being dished out, “They are at my surgery. Too right!”

This was something that Sheila Dunning said also happens at her GP, “We get charged at our Drs if we don’t turn up.”

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“I agree those people who don't turn up to appointments take up an appointment that someone else could have who actually needs to see a doctor”, wrote Jean Britton.

Barbara O'Connor, “I've never understood how people can't just pick up the phone and cancel before the ignorant!!!”

Margaret Martin replied saying that it was a, “Good idea and put the cash in the NHS x.”

“How would he know, we haven't been able to make appointments for over two years!”

On the other hand, Ken Batty is a firm, “Agree. Failing 2 or 3 appointments without good reason knock off the Doctor list of patients.”

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Martin Woodward followed up with support for the doctor, “And me! Totally scummy to miss valuable appointments without good reason. This crap is destroying our NHS!”

Michael Booker responded with a simple, “correct”, to which Ken Batty replied, “l see the number of missed appointments both for Doctor and Nurse up in the Surgery and it really is terrible when people are having a problem to get a appointment… Cannot understand why people cannot ring in or get someone else to contact surgery to cancel appointment.”

David Gwynne added his thoughts, “Which Doctors is this? Getting an appointment with my Doctors is like finding hens teeth.” That may be true… try getting signed up to a doctors when moving somewhere else, it can be even harder.

“Unbelievable ! How on earth did they get an appointment to not turn up to?”

Andrew Kempton said, “I totally agree it only takes a phone call to cancel!”

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Susie Taylor says that, “Depends on the reason for non attendance surely”, can’t argue there… it’s a very good point.

Sandra Webster was positively aghast, “Unbelievable ! How on earth did they get an appointment to not turn up to?”

Another not at all sarcastic response came from Lisa Clarke, who said “Good idea they should also be fined for not seeing patients face to face and having to tell a receptionist what you want to see a doctor for.”

“Bring back walk in surgeries, problem solved.”

Maroof Shaffie added, “And - what does he say when you can't get a doctors appointment?"

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James Bass shared his pessimism at such an approach, “Wouldn't raise much because you can't get an appointment in the first place and then when you do they just fob you off.” His view was shared by a number of readers, including Janet Utleym, who wrote “you need to get past [the] receptionist first.” James didn’t share the same view but understood the sentiment with his follow-up, “The receptionists at my Doctor's are the nicest I've met. They are lovely however I know exactly what you mean as previous ones you'd think were qualified GP's.”

However, Christine Armstrong believes that there is a very simple solution to this issue, “Bring back walk in surgeries, problem solved.”

Meanwhile, Christine Gifford says that “They are lucky to get an appointment.” A view shared by Jane Wroe, who commented, “Really, you can't get to see a doctor.”

A feeling that was also shared by Emma Louise Bingham, who commented, “How's these people getting appointments in the first place?”

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Maria Abel added, “How would he know, we haven't been able to make appointments for over two years!”

And Christopher Hague added, “I agree with his comments. Just a shame the GPs are not in their surgeries. Perhaps they ought to be fined. Those poor staff at the A & E are having to pick up their pieces.”

“He sounds like a Tory”

There were also some people who believe the GP should be fined for being unable to give patients appointments,

Gulfraz Saddique says that, “Dr's should be fined for refusing to see patients”

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Jonny Beck also added that, “doctors who fail to diagnose and misdiagnose should be fined £10,000...” which is a tad harsh… but I can understand the sentiment.

John TheMonk (yes, that’s his actual name… according to Facebook at least) replied saying, “This is fine but I go to doctors once in a blue moon and still have to wait way past my appointment time so is that okay to waste my time too.”

Zoe Ali isn’t a fan, “Don't agree with this... for the mental health patients that can't make it out the front door or haven't got the right frame of mind to call up to cancel, this would leave them in a situation that may make things worse.”

"Getting an appointment with my Doctors is like finding hens teeth”

Frequent contributor to our frequent discussions, Paul Metcalf had this to say about the NHS doctor, “He sounds like a Tory.”

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The most popular comment courtesy of Mel Machin received over 60 ‘likes’ (read ‘Thumbs-up reactions) on Facebook said, “Good idea and it should be reciprocated for all appointments and operations cancelled or delayed.”

Pat Barker was curious to know, “And, just HOW do you collect that??? Asks a practice manager with 30 years of experience. Great idea but impossible to enforce.”

And finally, Paul Richardson does not believe that people should be fined, instead “everyone should get an invoice for the true cost of the treatment they receive from the NHS, it should also read "Paid in full by you and your fellow citizens."

Great idea that, Paul, wouldn’t it be great idea if only to shame those who can’t be bothered to turn up (for good reason) with a breakdown of how their ‘no-show’. However there are many reasons where people will have extenuating circumstances which need to be taken into consideration, as noted by Jill Dodd who said, “I agree apart from exceptional circumstances.”