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NHS appointment charges and changes

(9 Posts)
ZiggyBarDust Tue 13-Feb-18 10:03:32

Bit frustrated over this. I had a routine follow up appointment booked about 8 week ago at a hospital. The clinic I see there have been awful and I’ve decided to go private for advice on this matter but my NHS GP (who advised the private doctor) wanted me to keep the appointment to be officially discharged and explain to the doctor that the clinic had been awful.

Last week I had two “two week wait” appointments made; they happen to be the same afternoon with one at the same time.

Requested to change the routine appointment and am now told that it can’t be cancelled, it will cost the trust 541 pounds and they will discharge me for missing the appointment.

On the booking confirmation text they stated a missed appointment cost 325 pounds (so it’s gone up two hundred pounds in two months).

The two week wait appointments can’t be missed, and there appears to be no option to change and rearrange the Routine appointment.

Aibu but isn’t this a massive waste of appointment time and trust money??

HollyBayTree Tue 13-Feb-18 10:09:25

Charging you or making you aware what it costs? Our GP surgery has a poster with associated costs on the wall, but no one is billing anyone £181 for a missed appointment. Same in A&E there are posters showing what the call out for an amublance costs rather than seeing a GP or going to a walk in clinic. But intrinsically people are selfish and whilst the NHS reamins free at point of use, people will abuse it. And if thats what it takes to drum home the point, whats the problem.

These texts are run from a programme, there isnt some itty bitty clerk feverishly stabbing away one fingered texting. It costs next to nothing, other than setting up the original programme.

ZiggyBarDust Tue 13-Feb-18 10:21:33

But I’m hardly abusing the NHS by trying to rearrange an appointment so that the initial appointment can be given to someone else?

There’s a 16 week wait for this clinic... it’s not like they won’t be able to fill the appointment!

G120810 Thu 15-Feb-18 02:32:25

How much notice are you giving them xx

Julie8008 Thu 15-Feb-18 03:08:50

Couldn't you just have got discharged from the NHS before you switched to go private?

lilythesheep Thu 15-Feb-18 03:32:12

I agree with you OP. I recently got a appointment - was given a slot via the central NHS booking helpline for 2 months later, which was according to their system the earliest available slot. When I got the letter confirming it, it asked me to phone the hospital department to check they had the correct blood test results in advance of the appointment - same number also to change or cancel the appointment. When I phoned, it was the wrong number. After much faffing around I finally managed to find the correct number, and spoke to someone in my local hospital, who asked did I not want an earlier appointment as there were plenty available from the next week - no need at all for a 2 month wait. So I took the earlier appointment. Then phoned the central booking line back to tell them that I had a new appointment so could they cancel the old one - was assured this had been done.

Two months later, got a reminder letter about the original appointment warning about the high cost to the Trust if this was missed. I assumed this was a paperwork error but phoned to check (again, wrong number on the letter I was sent, so further faffing around to get the right one). Person I spoke to at local hospital confirmed that a) the appointment hadn't been cancelled (so my phantom appointment was taking a slot someone else could have been given in theory), but b) the appointment I had been given was in the afternoon, when this clinic only ran in the morning, so if I had turned up at the time I was told, I wouldn't have been seen anyway. She said 'how on earth did you end up being given an appointment at this time?'. Answer: through the official booking system all patients are meant to use. When I had phoned the booking line, all the appointments on offer were in the afternoon, so many other patients must have been put in the same position. There seemed to be absolutely no communication between the central booking system and the local Trust.

It is so frustrating as the staff in the local hospital were doing their best and being really helpful, but the wider bureaucracy just doesn't seem fit for purpose. Now whenever I see the posters up in the hospital about the figures the NHS loses due to missed appointments, I wonder what proportion is actually due to people being given the wrong time, appointments not being cancelled properly, letters being sent out without the correct contact information, etc.

Exiguous Thu 15-Feb-18 03:46:50

On the booking confirmation text they stated a missed appointment cost 325 pounds (so it’s gone up two hundred pounds in two months).

That's quite an astonishing amount. How long was the appointment supposed to last? What were they going to do? I'm in the US and I don't think I've ever been charged that much for an appointment even at our grossly inflated rates.

Panda81 Thu 15-Feb-18 08:03:58


I had a text reminder come through on Friday about a hospital appointment this coming Friday... I had no letter about it so had no idea !!

However, the text didn't have a phone number on! The appointment is at a massive city centre hospital. I called so many different numbers and either got the wrong department or people's voicemail. Eventually someone was able to tell me which department but then they never answered or returned voicemails. I then managed to find an email, no reply to that. Eventually I started calling round the consultants secretaries and managed to speak to someone. After putting me on hold to find out what the appointment was for, they couldn't even tell me, just said I'd been referred by another hospital. I told them what I thought it was about which meant the appointment now was rubbish (as it was dependant on some genetic test results coming back) so I've now rearranged for April.

I get frustrated with all the complaints of lack of funding in the NHS when there are soooo many major quick wins that even I can see will help improve efficiencies. No amount of money thrown at the NHS will stop them being wasteful.

LakieLady Thu 15-Feb-18 08:14:53

My local trust sounds splendidly efficient then.

I've been able to rearrange consultant and imaging appointments to avoid having to cancel important work stuff without any problem. When it came to having surgery, although my first date was cancelled, I was able to pick my own theatre time to fit in with the bus timetable (they're only every 2 hours, so it makes a big difference).

When they rang DP to come and pick me up (it was day surgery), they even timed that perfectly. He rocked up at my cubicle just as the nurse was helping me get my boots on.

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