Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION - KEN WALKER South Park Cres­cent Ger­rards Cross

IT is a sad re­flec­tion of some peo­ple’s at­ti­tude to­wards our NHS when I read (Bucks Ad­ver­tiser Au­gust 4) that more than 500 peo­ple failed to turn up for five or more ap­point­ments at Buck­ing­hamshire hos­pi­tals last year.

It seems that some peo­ple have a cava­lier at­ti­tude to our NHS be­cause they think it is free. I pro­pose that peo­ple who fail to turn up (or fail to give ad­e­quate no­tice), should be charged a nom­i­nal fee of £50 ap­point­ment. This, by no means, cov­ers the true cost but it would act as an in­cen­tive for peo­ple to have a more re­spon­si­ble at­ti­tude to one of our great­est na­tional in­sti­tu­tions.

I un­der­stand that, on av­er­age, up to 20% of peo­ple fail to at­tend hospi­tal ap­point­ments which costs our NHS an enor­mous amount of wasted money. This is prob­a­bly why a num­ber of pa­tients are told to ar­rive at hospi­tal at cer­tain times and then have to wait hours in some cases to be ac­tu­ally seen. This is so hos­pi­tals can cater for failed ap­point­ments with­out hav­ing med­i­cal staff sit­ting around un­pro­duc­tively. If peo­ple adopted a more re­spon­si­ble at­ti­tude to keep­ing ap­point­ments, hos­pi­tals could ar­range bet­ter con­trolled ap­point­ment times, which would be to the ad­van­tage of all con­cerned.

I have heard it said that, to truly fund our NHS, tax would have to in­crease to 60% or 70%. Tax­pay­ers would not be pre­pared to pay to that ex­tent so we must de­velop a more re­spon­si­ble at­ti­tude to the way in which we could save money.

Per­haps that could also in­clude peo­ple trav­el­ling to UK specif­i­cally to get med­i­cal treat­ment hav­ing to pay. Our hard-hit NHS could do with the ad­di­tional funds this would pro­duce in or­der to pre­serve it for those who live and work in Bri­tain.

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