For Fandango’s Story Starter #8, where we build something around the following phrase:
I don’t think you sufficiently appreciate…
“So, there we have it, that’s about all I can think of to tell you. I suppose the next thing is for you to start meeting the patients and see how you get on.”
As the practise manager finished her spiel, Jackie was looking forward to starting this new job, to wiping the slate clean, for her last employer had tired of her voicing her opinions, something she had managed to obscure well at her interview for this job. More fool them, for not asking the right questions.
And this attribute raised its head in the middle of that first afternoon, when Jackie was stationed with old hand Sarah, and one of the doctors popped his head around the office door. “Has Mr McDonald checked in yet?” The two receptionists stared blankly at each other. “Ah, obviously not. Well, I’ll give him another minute and then move on to the next patient.”
Once the doctor had gone, Jackie whispered to Sarah: “I hate that. When they just don’t turn up. They should bring in a charge for missed appointments.”
Sarah took a deep breath, paused, then informed Jackie: “Do you know Mr McDonald has dementia?” She had the feeling that this was about to be a bumpy, but thankfully short, ride.
This was the first scenario that sprang to mind when I looked at the prompt. Because of the NHS, we don’t pay for individual doctor’s appointments, it’s all taken care of by the taxes we pay.
Because these appointments don’t cost, and are incredibly difficult to get in the first place, there is anger when people miss these appointments.
One “solution” that has been proposed is to start charging patients for missed appointments. It’s oh, so easy.
What it fails to take into account is something like the scenario above, where the man has dementia, has maybe forgotten the appointment because of that. So, his absense is more to do with his condition than his thoughtlessness.
I, too, have missed medical appointments, when I have not been able to use public transport to get to the appointment, because the public transport service finishes so ridiculously early. I’m totally shameless here – provide a decent bus service and I will gladly use it.
I just wanted to highlight to UK readers in particular, that there are several very good reasons why people miss appointments. It’s not simply because they can’t be bothered turning up.