Saturday 4 January 2014

A&E Patients could be Charged

Just a few weeks after a leading government think-tank recommended charging patients £10 to see their GP, see: Now a survey at "", see:, claims that a third of all doctors think patients should have to pay a provisional fee for admittance to Accident and Emergency departments. This fee would be reimbursed to the patient after treatment... should treatment be necessary. If the patient is discharged without treatment the hospital keep the tenner. The perceived need for this measure is the number of people who turn up at A&E when they have only a minor injury, can't be bothered to make a GP appointment or are just drunk etc. The Department of Health says it has "no plans" to make any changes to the system along these lines at present... Yeah, right! Also, the temptation will be there among pressured hospital staff to cut corners and send patients home when they shouldn't be, for the sake of the money. Does this also mean doctors and nurses will have to take on the role of NHS policemen, as with the proposed database to stop "health tourism", see: Who decides? One of the trauma surgeons at my hospital proposed a much simpler solution; he offered to walk through the A&E waiting room wearing his blood-soaked theatre wellingtons. "That's all you need to get rid of the time-wasters!" he said. 


  1. Well, Ben, we both have an insight look into this case. And part of me agrees with such radical decision. Every week, there is dozen of people admitting themselves to A&E - and waiting few hours to be seen by qualified nurse/ doctor with "injuries" like "swallowing finger nail" or limping into hospital with leg injury which they had since 2 weeks, not seeing their GP in meantime. In November, there was some bloke from Blackbird Leys who overdosed drugs and, after being brought to JR by ambulance and treated for 24 hours, stated that he has no money for the bus and demanded to be taken back to his house by ambulance again. Eventually, even someone from cashiers office got involved. So, yes, quite often it is pure "piss taking" and unnecessary overloading of A&E department (especially during winter). Personally, I think that some kind of solution would be to promote better self-education of "masses" - meaning: read what you can do for yourself in such situation, with such symptoms. Because, veeery often, such help in hospital is temporary anyway - with infamously overused phrase "take Paracetamol and rest a bit". I've visited my GP few times, and learned that quite often, I'll be better off with checking symptoms online - with epatient and other similar websites - instead of visiting them, not to mention going to A&E. If it is really minor stuff - self education is better option. Besides, you've got too good health service in this country, hence so many people from other parts of Europe and world uses it. Trust me, I know what I'm saying - I have area to compare it :D. P&D.

  2. I quite agree, Bro Po. No doubt there really are time-wasters who come into A&E. Some of them are regulars who turn up several times a week. Self-education is the second best solution after the wellingtons method. I just don't like the Govt using the problem as an excuse to introduce charges.