Patients who miss appointments should be fined, declares MLA
Patients who fail to turn up for hospital appointments without notifying health staff should be fined, one of Northern Ireland’s best known family doctors has said.
Dr Kieran Deeny was reacting after it emerged almost 180,000 people did not turn up for a hospital appointment last year.
The British Medical Association in Northern Ireland has also expressed concern at the figure which a spokeswoman said was adding additional pressure to the NHS and its ability to provide high-quality patient care.
Independent MLA Dr Deeny, who works as a GP in Omagh, criticised people who wasted appointments, saying it had a negative impact on the health of other people. “It’s not fair that people who need to see a consultant are waiting up to and over a year when other people just don’t bother to turn up for their appointment.
“If a person has no intention of going to their appointment the least they can do is let the hospital know so the appointment can be given to another patient .
“I really do think we are getting to the stage where people who don’t attend their appointments should be fined.”