HALF of GPs apparently want to fine patients for not showing up for their appointments.

Around 17 million appointments are missed each year. Two years ago, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt called for patients to be fined to encourage them to take “personal responsibility” for wasting time. Professional bodies, however, feel fines would penalise vulnerable patients. For the majority of patients, though, it might start people valuing the NHS more.

Many people already have a generally cavalier attitude towards health services and, as in hospitals, fail to turn up for appointments costing the NHS thousands. Something needs to be done, and urgently.