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Independents' Day

One in four patients willing to pay towards GP appointments

Almost a quarter of British people would be willing to pay for GP appointments, with the public more willing to pay for services such as physiotherapy and home support, a YouGov poll has shown.

The Everyday Health Tracker, which regularly surveys up to 2,000 UK adults, found that 24% of respondents were willing to pay part of the cost towards visiting their GP.

Those in higher managerial positions were somewhat more likely to be willing to do so, at 26%, compared with 20% of those in education or on lower income jobs.

Over half (56%) of respondents to the survey said they believe that ‘the NHS can’t to everything’ to cover all areas of healthcare in future, with people expressing an even stronger willingness towards financing their own physiotherapy (51%), chiropody (50%) or home support and rehabilitation (45%) services.

Further, over a third (36%) said they would be willing to pay a fee for accessing counselling or mental health talking therapies.

Commenting on the findings, YouGov Reports associate director Tom Rees said: ’The debate around GP waiting times and seven-day service is one that continues to divide opinion. For many, the NHS should be free at the point of service, and paying for GPs is simply not an option.

’For others, it seems as though they would be willing to share some of the financial burden. With the financial pressures facing the health service it may only be a matter of time before radical approaches have to be considered. Whether these would be politically viable is another matter.’

A Pulse survey last year found that half of GPs would support charges for routine appointments, with separate surveys finding that average waiting times for an appointment are likely to reach two weeks by next year.

However, leaders of the profession have refused to back suggestions for patient co-payments.

Think-tank the King’s Fund has suggested patients should be charged for missing appointments that they have booked with their practice, while a report by think-tank Reform found in 2013 that introducing a £10 charge per GP appointment would raise the NHS in England £1.2bn annually.


Readers' comments (18)

  • Now more of these surveys will gradually emerge paving way for co-payments. Not a bad thing. I am sure government will gradually pick on these things and prepare Joe public for co-payment/charges at point of use. Hopefully that will also bring more sense of responsibility among patients. Same time Patients will be expecting more for their Money.

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  • Ivan Benett

    75% arn't

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  • Copayments would be one way of forcing 7 day working as 'now I'm paying for it I want convienience as well'

    Payment of the full cost or stay as we are, some token 10 quid payment will do nothing but fuel resentment and devalue us further.

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  • Who are we kidding? Those willing to pay are not the problem. Its those NOT willing to pay who are.

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  • What about the ingrates who don't contribute and are the ones that take the most from the system? Like in society we have problem families, we have many problem patients. How about reverting back to personal responsibility again and make these people liable for the way they behave??

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  • another day, another survey
    there are thousands, indeed probably millions of such surveys, conducted by health investigators, regulatory bodies, and indeed under duress by gp's themselves
    most ask idiotic questions as to how patients wish to be treated by the health sevice,and reveal that they would like to be treated nicely
    however as anonymous 4.31 and 5.24 point out all these questions are largely irrelevant
    the question is how do you want your neighbour to be treated? are you willing to
    pay for unlimited care for him even if it means you going without?
    do the public wish to place any limit on the financial liability they are willing to bear for their neighbour?

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  • Ivan, rather than stating the obvious, how about saying something constructive about the way forward??

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  • I think 90% might be willing to pay if they were also able to choose a GP of their choice.

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  • Vinci Ho

    You see .
    (1)This is cunning politics. The Tories know about this all the way . Stifling and suffocating the NHS funding with the infamous efficiency saving ,inevitably leads to these 'opinions' . Eventually , the government would say it was just following public opinions to start charging a fee. Anyway, you GPs are the protagonists, not us , the 'honourable' politicians.
    (2) Bottom line is charging a fee to supplement the NHS in certain circumstances can become a norm e.g. for weekend GP appointments , some walk in self presenting A/E attendances and the services mentioned in this article. Of course , the argument is who can afford , who cannot? The experience in Hong Kong public hospital A/E departments showed a decline in demands to a more manageable level after starting to charge a fee in recent years.
    (3) This can only be legitimate if our politicians are open and honest of how much is the government actually committed to sustain a nationally funded health service .The danger is further funding cut as fees are being charged. The fee charged must always be a supplement ONLY to NHS , nothing more , nothing less.
    (4) This is a double edged sword in a critical point of history. We need an open and honest debate of the future of NHS . But with this bunch of politicians who only care about partisan reputation(preparing for next election) and rise of the GDP , the truth about how to rescue NHS can always be buried under the ground........

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  • I think we should charge patients otherwise NHS will crumble!!!

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