Sunak Proposes to Fine Patients for Missed Appointments

Rishi Sunak has pledged to introduce fines for patients who miss GP and hospital appointments as part of a shake-up of the NHS.

The former chancellor said those failing to show up for appointments are “taking those slots away from people who need them”.

To fufil his promise, the Tory leadership candidate said he would begin by fining patients who do not give sufficient notice for missing their appointment. A “first time offender” would be given the benefit of the doubt but missed appointments after would ring up charges of £10 each time.

Responding the proposed fines, Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation said:

“At a time when general practice and other services are facing record levels of demand, health service leaders are working hard to use their stretched resources well. This includes supporting patients to attend appointments, and there are a range of ways this support has been extended already, including home visits, longer and weekend opening hours, remote consultations and managing appointments via the NHS app.

“However, it is important to recognise that the reasons patients do not or cannot attend their appointments will be complex. Penalising them unfairly will not solve the problem and working with local communities to address the root causes is essential. The administrative burden this would place on the NHS risks being considerable and could well far outweigh the money brought in by the fines.

“This proposal will also not solve the fundamental and long-term issues the NHS is currently grappling with.

“These include health service staffing levels with vacancies which now stand at 105,000 as well as the impact of spiralling inflation costs on the NHS, and the ongoing pressures being felt across the whole system including in social care.”