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MPs to debate bill allowing GPs to charge patients for appointments

MPs are to debate a private members bill next month that would allow GPs to charge patients for appointments.

Christopher Chope, MP for Christchurch, first put forward the National Health Service (co-funding and co-payment) bill in September 2017, which aims to ‘make provision for co-funding and for the extension of co-payment for NHS services in England; and for connected purposes’.

Mr Chope has long campaigned against the use of private members bills to pass laws and previously came under fire for being the only MP to block a bill that would ban ‘upskirting’ - the practise of photographing up a woman’s skirt.

But under his private members bill, the National Health Service Act 2006 would be amended to include: ‘For the purposes of this act, co-funding of NHS care shall be permissible in England when NHS-commissioned care is proposed to be partly funded— (a) by a patient, or (b) on behalf of a patient.’ 

Leading GPs have previously deemed co-payments ‘a tax on sickness’ and ‘clearly not right’, with doctors rejecting a motion proposed at the BMA’s Annual Representative Meeting earlier this year, which considered charging patients for GP appointments to fund the NHS.

However, a Pulse survey revealed that over half of GPs are in favour of the NHS charging a small fee for routine appointments, with many believing it is the only way of managing their workload.

Meanwhile, a YouGov poll of 2,000 UK adults in 2015 found that almost one in four British people is willing to pay for GP appointments.

The private members bill is expected to have its second reading on 26 October 2018.

Readers' comments (18)

  • Drip drip drip, we need to join the rest of the world with healthcare system design and funding,the NHS is a busted flush and a blank cheque.

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  • Most countries in the world have co-payment or an insurance based system. It works very well for patients (better services) and doctors (better pay and conditions).
    It's the blind faith that the NHS funding system is the best that scuppers healthy sensible debate in the medical profession.
    "Top" GPs saying its "clearly not right" frankly just don't understand how other health system operate in a far superior way to the NHS.

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  • National Hopeless Service


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  • Co-funding is the need of the time. I am sure patients,doctors & politicians know that as well. Million dollar question is who is going to bell the cat????
    It will happen when general public has warmed to the idea of contributing DIRECTLY for their health care.

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  • It worked for dentists

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  • Make it something decent like £20 an appt - that takes account of real world costs and values us a little (two packs of fags, or 6 coffees). And £100 for a home visit (like the plumber)

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  • The cardigans won’t allow it.

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  • Top GPs??? Who are they
    They just have look at the health systems in other countries in Europe where there is different funding arrangements and co-payments to realise the quality of service, and the overall outcome of chronic diseases, cancer survival are all far better than the NHS.

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  • It is about time charges are brought in even for normal appointments. Sick of seeing people who smoke 2 packets of cigarettes daily and £40 of weed and demands ibuprofen as they have no money for minor musculoskeletal pain.

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  • Lol I'm loving the comments.... esp Truthfinder's. Lets make this quote commonplace - "That's what you get with a socialised healthcare system"

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