Antwerp doctor’s no-show charge

Antwerp doctor's no-show charge

DOCTOR’S APPOINTMENT: Deposits not allowed in Belgium Photo credit: Pexels/Karolina Grabowska

Belgium’s Order of Physicians suspended an Antwerp general practitioner who asked patients for an €80 deposit before making an appointment.

A spokesman for the Order agreed that many patients often failed to turn up for a consultation after making an appointment but said that GPs could not demand deposits.

“This is not allowed,” the Order’s Dr Michel Deneyer told broadcaster VRT News. “It makes the threshold to visiting a doctor even higher for people with financial problems, and there are more of them than you might think,” he added.

There was no agreement with the National Institute for Sickness and Disability Insurance (RIZIV) or any other authority that entitled a medical practitioner to ask for an advance on a standard appointment.

“The Order’s provincial councils can take action against this practice with a disciplinary sanction,” Dr Deneyer said. This was the case with the Antwerp doctor who was later suspended for one week.

According to a report in the Specialist magazine, a patient lodged a complaint with the Order of Physicians’ Provincial Council, explaining that he had paid an €80 deposit but then wanted to cancel. The GP was willing to refund €50 but kept the remaining €30 to cover administrative costs.

“In some areas between 8 per cent and 12 per of patients don’t keep their appointments, which results in wasted time and loss of income for the doctor. It also means that other patients must wait longer for an appointment,” Dr Deneyer said.

“However, asking for a deposit is the wrong way to address the issue,” he stressed.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.

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