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Tell patients what they cost the NHS

GPs could be asked to tell patients the exact cost to the NHS they have incurred after each consultation.

This is one of the controversial ideas the Government is floating in a report published last week. Building on Progress: Public Services outlines changes it believes will improve services.

The report says: 'Though the citizen would not be charged for the treatment, the information alone may help them to understand the costs incurred in providing the service, and so encourage them to be prudent in their use of healthcare services.

'Other ideas include banning frequent DNAs from booking GP appointments and encouraging GPs to offer more flexible opening hours.

The report says patients want GP surgeries to open evenings and weekends – even if it means shutting them at times during the week – and says around 90 of the 100 people at a recent Government citizen's forum meeting called for such flexibility.

Nine in 10 attendees also called for patients who kept missing GP appointments to only have access to a 'turn up and wait' service.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, GPC chair, said the proposal to quote consultation costs was 'another crackpot idea'. 'It's certainly not going to further the doctor-patient relationship.'

He added that GPs were perfectly able to deal with patients who abused appointments 'without having someone in Whitehall telling us what to do'.

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