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GPs buried under trusts' workload dump

The DNA: the last true perk of primary care

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Charge patients for DNAs? As in, actually penalise patients financially for not turning up to my surgery? Are these people crazy?

These people, in case you missed it, are the members of a think-tank which recently published a study on the future funding of healthcare

Come on, be honest. Hands up all those GP readers who really do get narked by patients who DNA as opposed to think they should make a show of appearing to be narked by patients who DNA? Exactly. After all, we GPs work in a uniquely freebie-free zone. Gone are the days of the lavish pharma-sponsored curry followed by welcome samples of a GORD-busting PPI. We don’t get so much as a free pen these days. There’s not even any point in nicking paper-clips or post it notes given that we pay for them in the first place.

So the DNA is just about the only true perk of primary care. I cannot help but feel unfairly treated if I have a surgery with no DNAs at all. One I view as my right. Two a bonus. And three a caffeinated gift from the gods of general practice. The only reason I don’t actually book patients a follow-up appointment and then pay them not to attend is because I’ve only just thought of it as I wrote that last sentence.

There is, however, a charge I would like to apply to some patients. It involves those who use ‘chronic disease reviews’ as an excuse to present multiple other problems. Oh, and 20,000 volts. 

Readers' comments (16)

  • Masquerading...As a patient, with an appointment for tomorrow....THANKS :(
    1,2,3,4,or 5...is irrelevant!!!....We have a job to do...so surely we should do it!!!!....or seek a more pleasing profession.

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  • Ricardo Gaudoin

    Rather than let a DNA appt: go to waste; Analysis of GP data has shown that these Patients can be identified the same as "frequent Flyers" , who have attended the local A/E for which you will be charged - or have ended up as an in-patient with a huge cost of treatment attached. So if GPs could identify these few DNA culprits, and send out a SMS or even a phone call before their appointment (hairdressers now do this) which in turn will ensure its a win, win on both sides.

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  • I hear your practical solution Ricardo but at which point will the public start to behave in a responsible manner and treat NHS as "pool of limited resources shared by all". We can continue to help the patients but they too will have to help themselves - and not wasting an appointment is the least they can do.

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  • 3 X DNA then receive a 12 month suspension. During suspension must go to Walk in Centre, wherever that may be.

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  • I LVE DNAS.IT GIVES ME BREATHING SPACE.
    I FEEL A MUCH MORE VALID DISCUSSION WOULD BE - WHAT IS A SAFE NUMBER OF PATIENTS TO SEE IN A DAY ?
    WE SAY WE ARE OVERWORKED.[ WHAT IS NORMAL WORK] MR. HUNT AND HIS ILK SAY WE DO NOT PROVIDE A PROPER SERVICE.[ WHAT IS A PROPER SERVICE]
    HOW CAN WE JUDGE ANYTHING IF WE DO NOT HAVE NORMAL VALUES ? SO HOW MANY PATIENTS IN A DAY ?

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  • I am a lay person.
    In one practice I used to attend, the person making the appointment always ended the call with "Please, make sure that you phone us if you are not able to make this appointment so we can give it to someone else".
    I am told it had quite an effect on DNAs.
    Your average patient neither understands or, sadly,cares about DNAs unless you tell them about the problem!
    A notice in the Waiting Room (one of several dozens) will have no effect whatsoever.

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From: Copperfield

Dr Tony Copperfield is a jobbing GP in Essex with more than a few chips on his shoulder