German doctors decry epidemic of missed appointments
Getting a doctor's appointment in Germany can be a struggle at the best of times, but some doctors say that patients are part of the problem since very few people cancel their unwanted appointments.
Germany’s patients are missing too many doctor's appointments
Seven out of 10 doctors’ practices in Germany report that a considerable number of patients are missing their scheduled appointments. In some cases, almost a fifth of appointments result in a no-show.
As a result, Head of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV) Andreas Gassen is suggesting that providers of statutory health insurance introduce a fee for missed appointments.
“It’s not just annoying when patients miss their appointments. Doctors’ practices can’t offer appointments twice,” Gassen explained. "When a patient doesn’t turn up for an appointment it means the time is blocked out and cannot be used to meet with other patients."
Patient Protection Foundation criticises fee proposal
Critics have called Gassen’s suggestion a “rip-off” for patients. Health insurance providers have suggested that the opposite policy be implemented, whereby patients who wait a long time for appointments receive a compensation payment.
Germany’s Foundation for Patient Protection has pointed out that a “lack of accessibility for patients is the biggest problem". Head of the Foundation Eugen Brysch said that the lack of available appointments - which means some patients wait over 30 days before seeing a doctor - is also causing an overflow into emergency rooms at hospitals.
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