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Tell patients the cost of their care: your views

Many of you have contacted us to give your views on Baroness Young of the Care Quality Commission's call for patients to be told on leaving a GP consultation how much it has cost. Read them below.

Many of you have contacted us to give your views on Baroness Young of the Care Quality Commission's call for patients to be told on leaving a GP consultation how much it has cost. Read them below.

I think it is an excellent idea to let patients know how much treatment & prescriptions cost are. I also think that patients should pay a fixed fine for failing to show up for an appointment as so many appointment slots are wasted. If we can introduce a conjestion charge in London I am sure that with some creative thinking we can come up with a system to manage DNA charges for non attendance.

Marie Bass
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Patients SHOULD be told the cost of drugs and treatments.

When my wife owned a Nursery School, the nursery nurses were incredibly wasteful of materials - a foot of sellotape instead on the 5 inches needed, mixing up too much paint only for it to be poured down the drain.

She asked her staff to do the next stationery and equipment order from the catalogues - they were staggered at the cost of things !

Terence Wiseman
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Totally agree - patients are astounded when I replace their carelessly lost inhaler with a new prescription (costing over 60 pounds e.g for Seretide) and tell them the cost and to be more careful

Lawrence Addlestone
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I suggested this to our lead GP in 1973 when I first worked in General Practice as an evening receptionist (the only "out of hours" work available at that time - apart from "pub" work!) I remember telling him that when things were "free" that was the value people put on them.

When I became practice manager at another practice 20 years later I was tempted to evaluate each patient's yearly medication cost to present it to each patient. Pressure of work prevented me from managing the venture.

I continue to believe that patients should be aware of the costs of their medical treatment - but possibly the cost of doing this would be prohibitive

Teresa New
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I feel that informing individual patients of the cost of their medication will not make much difference. An individual patient will accept the GP's suggestion that s/he needs the medication - whatever the cost (no doubt the GP will have chosen the appropriate medication - taking onto account the cost!).

It is difficult to indicate the cost of an appointment with the GP - it is at best an average - taking into account the differing length of time an individual person spends with the GP etc.

Malcolm Freeth
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I wonder if there should be a move to charge a fee for visiting the doctor or like dental practices charge when a patient doesn't turn up.

I have been in general practice now for 5 years and in that time patients have become more and more demanding. There is a complete lack of respect for clinicians and staff with patients becoming increasing abusive and aggressive. We get demands that are totally unreasonable eg patient rings up and wants to see a specific GP at a specific time on a specific day or they want a script to be done straight away even though we ask for 48 hours notice.

Patients don't turn up or are 10 mins late and get upset if we ask them to rebook. Patients demand to be referred or demand antibiotics and won't accept their GP's judgement. Yesterday we advised a patient to take their child to the minor injuries unit as we are no longer commissioned to provide the service. The patient screamed and shouted at the receptionist and then did the same to the GP. Her words to the GP were 'I can have what I want when I want and where I want''.

I could cite dozens of incidents (including the patient that demanded the GP drive him from Newton Abbot to the hospital in Bristol as he had no transport - he was serious too) but the long and short of it is that we need to ensure that appointments are used appropriately and that they are not wasted. A small fee might make us all think twice about whether we really need the appointment and would ensure that patients are on time and turn up.

I feel that this is a bit of a rant, but clinicians and practice support staff want to provide the best service that they can and to do that the clinicians have to be able to focus their time where it is most needed.

Jackie Walters
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Baroness Young has no experience in health care, especially as a patient. Her pronouncements to date demonstrate her lack of insight into health care issues. To expect to add this task to an already crowded agenda within the consultation is ill judged and will not be helpful to the physician or the patient.

She should resign her position (even though she only commenced on 1 April) as she has very large feet which she is constantly inserting into her even larger mouth.

Dermot Ryan
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I do not think a sick patient should be made to feel guilty. It costs but they and we all pay.

My belief is no one wants to see doctor if they can help it..

Reassurance is a major part of GP'S workload. If you want to make them aware of cost of drug then patient should pay 10% of cost which they can recover afterwards. This would bring home what it costs.

Dr Subhash Bhatt
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Totally agree with the Baroness. So often when questioning patients on their medication compliance, I get the answer "oh I didn't actually need that one but I just ticked the prescription anyway. Also, I don't think it would be a bad idea to let patients know how much it costs the NHS for non-attenders. Might make them think twice before they miss yet another appointment when we're all having our knuckles rapped over primary care access.

Christine Hughes
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I am a US medical professional practicing here. In the US, patients know the cost. They only seem to care if it impacts their pocket. The poor get their care for free (or not at all) and seem to access it without a thought as there is no cost to them. Putting a value on care may impact some but unless you actually make them pay the cost will be a figment in their imagination.

My experience here so far is the elderly value their care and use wisely while the young and uneducated seek us out instead of using good common sense. I am very much committed and interested in your no cost system, perhaps giving a patient a printout after each visit, especially after lab work and various tests, would drive the point home that no one ever gets anything really for free. Someone always has to pay, in the end.

Sharon Girard
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Excellent idea. For some time I've been telling pts who are over-ordering their inhalers exactly how much they have cost the NHS. In many cases this has modified their ordering behaviour.

Sarah Tarrant
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Tell patients the cost of their treatment? Certainly - for anyone who complains about the prescription charge...but difficult to tell a very ill patient that their life saving treatment is costing tens of thousands...increasing stress and 'guilt'.

But Yes to making it clear in the press of exactly what each nursing visit, bed stay, operation cost is - without it being personalised. We have too many patients for whom 'free at the point of treatment' means "of no value" and therefore can be abused.

Miranda Lonsdale
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I think this is a good idea, I believe many people take the NHS for granted and it will make them more conscious to let them know what the costs are.

Cecilia Cu-Zetina
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Should patients be told how much their GP care has cost? Your views

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