Welsh Conservative Party bid to fine no-show hospital patients £10
GP leaders have opposed a proposal from the Conservative Party to fine patients referred to Welsh hospitals £10 if they do not go.
The party said the pledge, which comes ahead of next year’s Welsh Assembly elections, is a response to a report showing 1.2m hospital appointments were missed in the last three years at a cost of £60m a year.
The report, by the assembly’s public account committee, also showed that patients failed to show up for over one in every ten GP appointments in Wales.
A a BBC Wales poll from earlier this year showed eight in ten Welsh people would support fines for both missed GP and hospital appointments, however GP leaders said that issuing fines risked damaging the doctor patient relationship.
An RCGP spokesperson told the BBC: ‘Introducing a charge for appointments would fundamentally change one of the founding principles of general practice, that healthcare is free at the point of need.
‘Missed appointments can be frustrating but in many cases there are valid reasons for patients not being able to attend, and they can be warning signs that something more serious is wrong.’
It comes as UK health secretary Jeremy Hunt said last week that he has ‘no problem’ with the principle of charging patients for missed GP appointments.