I’m sure that we’ve all complained at some point about the length of time we’ve had to wait for an NHS appointment.
For the lucky ones, it will be for nothing more serious, although perhaps painful and inconvenient, than a sore back requiring some physiotherapy or a visit to a nurse to get some cream for an itchy skin condition.
However, when it’s something that’s really giving us cause for concern or giving a great deal of pain, we all would want to be seen as quickly as possible.
To tackle that problem the Scottish Government introduced maximum waiting time targets that all health boards across the country are expected to meet.
There has been much debate over the years about how achievable these are but it would be difficult to argue with the ethos to provide patients with the best treatment possible in the shortest period of time.
Which makes it all the more shocking when you learn that over 26,000 people in Forth Valley failed to turn up for an NHS appointment last year.
Didn’t call to say “sorry I can’t make it” or “oops I’m running late so I won’t bother to attend” or even “I’m feeling better and don’t think I need to come to the clinic now”.
Instead they don’t bother to turn up and leave a gap in the diary that someone in perhaps more immediate need than them would have gladly filled if they had had the chance.
We’re all busy. But it doesn’t take too much time to pick up the phone to cancel an NHS appointment if you’re unable to attend. Some day you may be glad that someone else did.