published on
May 3, 2023

Why £10 fines for missing NHS appointments won't fix wait times

Charles Armitage
posted on
Care professionals
Why £10 fines for missing NHS appointments won't fix wait times

Fix the staffing crisis to solve wait times, don't punish patients: our founder Charles Armitage's response to Rishi Sunak's suggested £10 fine for missing NHS appointments.

The NHS is on the brink of collapse and this is a short term fix to a long term and systemic problem.

Introducing £10 fines for people missing hospital appointments will, in no way, solve the deeply concerning vacancy rate across the healthcare sector. We simply don't have the front line staff in place to deal with growing demands.

If Rishi Sunak becomes prime minister, we need a long term strategy for fixing the NHS, not short term patches like this. 

Less staff, longer waits

The NHS and social care workforce is completely falling to pieces. The frontline staff kept the NHS together during the pandemic and promised it would get easier, but over the last six to eight weeks, managers have been trying to fill more and more shifts. 

Current staffing levels are significantly impacting quality of care.

We’re seeing a dramatic increase in wait times as elective surgeries put on hold during COVID-19 restarted, but we simply don't have the front line staff to deal with the added pressure. This combined with a high vacancy rate is leading to unprecedented pressure on healthcare services.

The interface between the NHS and social care, A&E and discharge, or the front door and the back door of the healthcare system, is where we’re seeing the biggest pinch points and the system is really starting to break down.

The crisis is getting worse

When I was a doctor, I saw first hand the number of people lying in beds waiting to be discharged, and it’s only getting worse. 

Nine in ten (89%) NHS and health and social care workers already state that quality of care is being impacted by chronic staff shortages, and over a quarter (27%) are calling for the whole system to be overhauled. 

We’re at a crisis point and we need the government to do something about it.

Train staff and pay more

The government needs to look at a long term strategy and predict the trajectory for decades to come. It takes years to effectively train doctors and nurses and we need to look beyond a single government.

As an immediate measure we need at least an inflation-matching pay rise to prevent people leaving.

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