Doctors in this Dutch city want to fine patients who don’t show up for their appointments

We're in an 'absent-itis' epidemic 😰🩺

If you live in the Netherlands, you know how hard it can be to get an appointment with your (slightly intimidating) Dutch General Practitioner (GP).

Well, part of the reason for this is that there are too many people for too few physicians, and more and more of them have a tendency to not show up for their appointments.

So, healthcare professionals in Amsterdam are getting frustrated.

According to the AD, to set an end to this trend, some Dutch GPs are now imposing fines on patients who fail to show up for their appointments or don’t cancel in a timely manner.

The no-show fine

Healthcare providers already experience a lot of pressure in the Netherlands, “so a no-show is very annoying,” says Paulien van Hessen, director of the Amsterdam Physicians’ Alliance.

READ MORE | How to register with a doctor in the Netherlands

Naturally, patients who don’t cancel their appointments in time keep slots occupied that could have been used to tend to other patients. That’s why a fine is meant to have a preventative effect.

“We do our best to help everyone as quickly and as well as possible. As a patient, you can help us with that by cancelling in time when the demand is no longer needed.”

How much is the fine?

While more Amsterdam GPs have begun introducing no-show fines, there are not (yet) any fixed rules regarding them.

Fines are set by physicians themselves and dealt with outside of health insurers. They mostly range from €10 to €30, but they may double in price if a patient is a repeat offender or misses a longer consultation.

Not everyone’s in favour

The Dutch Patient Federation, which represents patients’ interests, is not a fan of a fine system for missed appointments. As spokesperson Tijmen Hendriksen tells the AD, “We think that these fines do not benefit the relationship between doctor and patient.”

READ MORE | Going to a doctor in the Netherlands? Here’s the ultimate guide

“Reasons why patients do not show up can vary widely. For example, this can also arise from a fear of treatment or costs. You don’t want to punish people with a fine for that,” he says.

Many doctors agree, arguing that the time and effort spent chasing a €10 fine are not worth it. As Van Hessen puts it: “We really have better things to do: we need to provide care. It’s busy enough.”

What do you think of a no-show fine for missed doctor’s appointments? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Lyna Meyrer πŸ‡±πŸ‡Ί
Lyna Meyrer πŸ‡±πŸ‡Ί
Say 'hoi' to Lyna, our Senior Writer at DutchReview! Fueled by a love for writing, social media, and all things Dutch, she joined the DR family in 2022. Since making the Netherlands her home in 2018, she has collected a BA in English Literature & Society (Hons.) and an RMA in Arts, Literature and Media (Hons.). Even though she grew up just a few hours away from the Netherlands, Lyna remains captivated by the guttural language, quirky culture, and questionable foods that make the Netherlands so wonderfully Dutch.

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