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Two-thirds of patients willing to pay fine for missing a GP appointment

Seventy per cent of patients would be willing to pay a charge of £10 for missing a GP appointment, a poll of 507 UK patients has shown.

The survey, sponsored by Astellas Pharma, also found that only one in four patients thinks that UK governments are spending enough on health and that 39% would be willing to pay an additional charge for quicker access to healthcare in general.

Meanwhile, half of patients polled said they would be willing to accept an appointment by webcam if it made it easier to get an appointment.

It comes after a survey by the research division of Pulse’s publishers, Cogora, found that 66% of GPs wanted to see a charge for missed appointments.

But RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker argued that charging for missed appointments would ’be hard to administer for very little return and would add an extra layer of bureaucracy for GPs and their teams who are already struggling with heavy workloads in order to meet rising patient demand’.

She added that ’charging for appointments – missed or otherwise – would fundamentally change one of the founding principles of the NHS, that access is free at the point of need’.

She said: ’When patients don’t turn up for appointments, it can be frustrating– for both GPs and for patients who could have had the appointment otherwise – but charging a penalty for this is not the answer.’