Using the red button to see the doctor
Every so often, a new report comes out which shows that one of the biggest costs to the NHS comes from people not turning up to their appointments with their GP. This usually prompts a round of suggestions that we should fine people who make appointments and don't show up, in order to penalise them for their bad behaviour.
In Kirklees, they took a very different approach to tackling this problem. Instead of assuming that so-called "DNAs" (Did Not Arrives) are caused by people behaving badly and irrationally, they decided to try and use new technology to make it easier for people to book appointments.
What often happens is that people who aren't feeling well have to wait until Monday morning to make an appointment. They then speak to a stressed and/or unfriendly receptionist, who tells them that they've got to come at such-and-such a time. That time isn't really convenient, but they don't want to argue the point, so just don't turn up.
So in Kirklees, they made the technology available so that people with digital TVs could book appointments at a time of their convenience using their remote control and their telly (you can find out more about this here). So when people felt poorly, they didn't have to wait til office hours or talk to anyone, instead they could use their telly to find a time and day which suited them and book it by pressing a button on their remote control.
Sound like a load of liberal hand-wringing nonsense, a typical example of how a bloated public sector wastes our taxes?
It cut the percentage of people who didn't turn up for their GP appointments in Kirklees by 70%.