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.”