NHS to show cost of missed appointments to patients
Patients who miss appointments will be shown how much they have cost the NHS.
Overall, missed GP and hospital appointments cost the health service in England nearly £1bn a year, Jeremy Hunt said in a speech this week.
He said he sympathised with the idea of charging patients for missing GP appointments, although there are no plans for this to happen.
But he said people would have to “take personal responsibility” for NHS funds.
In a measure announced in a speech to the Local Government Association on Wednesday, Mr Hunt said he planned to display the cost of prescription medicines on packets.
The figure and the words “funded by the UK taxpayer” will be added to all packs costing more than £20 in England.
The move is part of efforts to reduce the £300 million bill for “wasted” medication, which is prescribed but not used.
In the same speech, he said missed GP appointments cost the taxpayer £162 million and missed hospital appointments cost £750 million.
Mr Hunt told the Question Time programme that NHS resources were stretched already, adding there would be more than one million extra people aged over 70 by the end of the current parliament.
“If we’re going to square the circle and have a fantastic NHS, despite all those pressures, then we have to take personal responsibility for the way that we use NHS resources,” he said.
Mr Hunt told the audience in Essex he did not have a “problem in principle with the idea of charging people for missed appointments.”
But he added: “I think in practical terms it could be difficult to do, but I’ve taken a step towards that this week by announcing that when people do miss an appointment they will be told how much that’s cost the NHS.”