YEP Says, January 21: Time to fine patients for not turning up to their appointments?

Leeds General Infirmary is one of the hospitals counting the cost of missed appointments.
Leeds General Infirmary is one of the hospitals counting the cost of missed appointments.
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Problem costs Leeds hospitals millions of pounds.

THE issue of patients not turning up for hospital appointments is perhaps a symptom of our times.

Is it a lack of manners that stops people from simply calling up and letting staff know they will be unable to make it?

After all, it’s not just medics who are inconvenienced by non-attendees. They’re taking up appointments that could be put to good use by others.

Then there’s the price we all end up paying. The nearly 130,000 appointments that were missed in Leeds last year cost the health service millions of pounds. That’s money that comes straight out of our pockets in the form of taxes.

Some hospitals try to get round the problem by overbooking patients in the manner of a scheduled airline so their time isn’t wasted by non-attendees.

Yet this can lead to longer waiting times and rushed consultations – meaning patients still suffer as a result.

So what’s the answer? Those who miss two appointments are usually discharged back to their GP, but should there be a fine imposed as well?

Given that it’s been estimated that each missed appointment costs a hospital £100, there’s an argument that at least part of this bill should be picked up by those who are to blame.

After all, in this instance it isn’t the Government or NHS that’s to blame but a total lack of personal responsibility.

Now let’s keep the pressure on criminals

IT’S hardly surprising that a blitz on crime which saw three times the number of police vehicles on our streets yielded results.

Nevertheless, Operation Venom was a huge success – burglaries dropped by a third in Leeds and across the whole of West Yorkshire in its wake.

At a time when so many of us fear falling victim to crime it was good to see that worry passed on to criminals for a change.

Many will feel it’s a shame such major police operations can’t be mounted on a more regular basis.

In the meantime, the challenge for officers is to maintain this fear factor with far fewer resources.

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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