A BUzz Bournemouth poll has revealed that 93% of people think patients should be fined for missing hospital appointments.
60 people have voted on whether fines should be imposed on patients following the news that both the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and Poole Hospital are spending millions of pounds each year on missed appointments.
POLL: Bournemouth Hospital have said that they are spending up to £1.5 million a year on appointment cancellations, without patients letting them know. One cancelation costs Bournemouth Hospital £100, so should patients be fined for not turning up without letting them know?
— Buzz (@buzz_bmth) January 15, 2018
The Royal Bournemouth Hospital revealed on Sunday that 13,000 people missed appointments in 2017, costing the hospital £1.3 million.
Poole hospital lost £1.5 million a year from patients failing to turn up or cancel their appointments. More than 300 people fail to turn up to their appointments every week.
With one cancellation costing around £100, many people are calling for harsher crackdowns on patients who fail to turn up to their appointments. One popular suggestion is to impose fines.
However Dorset Health Watch do not think it would be fair to impose fines on people who miss hospital appointments. A spokesperson said:
“there are many reasons why people fail to attend hospital appointments and imposing fines won’t help the NHS to understand what those reasons are. Healthwatch Dorset would encourage our local hospitals to ask people why they’ve missed appointments and look at what could be done to help people attend appointments in the future.”
Dorset Healthwatch suggest an alternatives to imposing fines:
“While it’s good to inform the public about the cost of missed NHS appointments, it would be more helpful to look at ways of improving communication rather than placing blame on patients. For example, when people choose their own NHS appointment times, rather than being given times that may not suit them, they are much more likely to attend.”
The wasted money comes as the NHS faces yet another winter crisis with almost 15% of England’s A&E patients waiting more than four hours to be seen in December.
Poole hospital have made the following statement in reaction to the NHS winter crisis after there have been postponed appointments from within the hospital as well.
“Staff within Poole Hospital are working under a great deal of pressure this month, as there is considerable demands on our services, and unusually high numbers of very sick patients have been admitted to our wards – including a number of very serious cases of flu. As a consequence, we have to postpone a number of routine inpatient and outpatient appointments, originally scheduled for January. Urgent appointments remain unaffected.
We are extremely sorry that we have had to take this action, but given the circumstances, we have to prioritise emergency and urgent treatment over routine, planned care. This is entirely in line with national guidance issued earlier this week, by NHS England, aimed at supporting the provision of safe care.
“Patients affected by this action will be contacted and offered new appointments as soon as possible. Unless you are contacted, please attend your appointment in the usual way.”