Doctors Start Charging Patients a Late Fee

I had a good laugh at the absurdity here, but then I thought about the countless hours that I have spent in U.S. doctor offices with my handicapped child, and it wasn’t so funny anymore.


I am not from Australia, but I spoke to several Aussie friends online before writing this article. They all assured me that lengthy waiting times at Aussie doctor offices is nothing uncommon.

According to the Herald Sun, and Australian newspaper, doctors have started charging their patients a “late fee” of $20.00 to $50.00 if they are just 10 minutes late for an appointment. Australian doctors claim that the fees are crucial to ensure that their medical practices profit run efficiently. If the patient is late or does not show up, then the doctor/business does not get the money that was allotted for that time.

Many patients complained to Health Minister Daniel Andrews, but to no avail. He says that it is up to the doctor to decide what fee to charge their patients.

In my opinion, this is nothing short of absurd when you consider how long many patients wait to see a doctor. I have went into some of Kaitlynn’s appointments at 9 a.m. and left at 1 or 2 p.m., after spending 15 minutes with the doctor. I have also showed up for appointments, only to be told 2 hours later that the doctor was called to an emergency and would have to see me the next day.  I have also worked inside doctor offices and seen doctors show little regard for waiting patients as they take time to savor the sweet treats brought by drug reps.

When a doctor is running late, meeting with a drug rep, gets called away to an emergency, etc.. the waiting patient must bear that cost. So, why the one way street? Why should the doctors time be more important than the patients?

Is the doctor going to compensate a patient who misses an entire days worth of work while waiting for him? Is a doctor going to pay the extra expense of gas and time off work if he gets called away to an emergency and can not see waiting patients? Unless the answer to those questions is yes, then the doctor has some nerve to charge a late or absent fee. As my grandmother used to say, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

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  1. What a surprising information

  2. Pathetic… If the doctor is late, the the patient would be late (dead).

  3. My husband has a doctor that the nurses look at the clock. Once he couldn’t find a parking space, thus he was TWO minutes late and they wouldn’t keep his appointment. Yet when he gets there on time, they make him wait 45-60 minutes.

  4. Forgot to tell you thanks for the information and this article is really well written.

  5. If the doctor was late, that might delay the time to rescue the patient.

  6. Well, said and you pretty much took the words out of my mouth when you said is the doctor going pay the patient if he is late getting to them or can’t see them that day becuase he was called away?

    This is not a bank they are runnig. They are dealing with our health and it shoudn’t be treated like a fee that a bank would charge when you over draw your checking account.

    I understand that its about money, but there has to be a better way!

    Good Article

  7. They charge patients for being late? I should take this law, and run with it myself then. I\’ll write up a bill for my doctor the next time I visit, $20 for every 10 minutes I have to wait. By the time I get out of there, I\’ll be a wealthy man. It seems every time I go to the doctors, I have a long wait time. When I broke my foot and had to get a cast, I waited for almost an hour, while my foot was in pain. When I went back to get the cast off at 1, the doctor had not yet arrived. I ended up stuck there until I was finally able to leave at around 4. I saw the doctor for 20 minutes or so, and I was his first appointment of the day. I understand that it is a hospital and that the doctors are there to try and help the patients, and that if you are late, it takes away from their time to help the patients; however, more often than not, the doctor is the one who is late. Thank goodness that I do not live in Australia. Your grandmother was right. Nice article.

  8. Great article Ashley. Doctors, lawyers, and politicians…..They all seem to think their time is more important than anyone else’s .

  9. Charging the patients for coming up late…how absurd it is? When the patients had to wait long hours when the doctor is away, why can’t doctors wait for patients? Nobody is going to come late for an appointment unnecessarily.

  10. Interesting.

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