This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Read the latest issue online

Gold, incentives and meh

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)

  • ‘’Top GPs’ usually have nothing to do with front line and all to do with politics.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Yeah, lets hope they pass it and we can go the way of dentists

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • On one hand it might put people off. On the other, I can imagine the sense of entitlement ballooning. I think full privatisation with charges per 15 minutes of at least £60 more appropriate

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I think having the option of offering some private appts , like the consultant contract, would help. This would shift baby boomers out of the system and provide income to practices. Guess some docs would try to abuse it ( like the current Consultant system where they encourage long waiting lists)but we are out of options.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • AlanAlmond

    Is this the right politician to put forward this bill. A gift to any newspaper that disagrees. They guy who stopped a law criminalising up-skirting is proposing people pay to see their GP. Urrr thanks matie but couldn’t you pursade someone else to do this one for you?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I have never read anything that convinces me that charging would improve appropriate uses of our appointments ,to me it would confirm the inverse care law in shifting the balance of consultation away from the groups with more needs and more scope for benefits to the people who have £20 or whatever and would like to spend it on a gp appointment for some minor issue.also I don’t want money in my consultations when a pt has to be told No- eg you can’t have X-rays/referral to a Lyme disease clinic in Germany/whatever you came for and you can’t have your money back either...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • In a conservative society like the UK it will not happen until NHS collapses and then the people , politician and NHS staff would realise it need changes. lets wait for it.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Sally, you're right. It won't work until the vast majority of socialist policies are abandoned, i.e. welfare benefits and state coverage for health care provision. I.e, if a patient wants an x-ray, you tell them your professional opinion of the pros/cons, then they PAY/CLAIM for it if they want it. Again, what happens in the majority of the rest of the world. And IMGs, don't make me laugh, we're a conservative society? You clearly don't know what true conservatism is. More than 60% of our budget goes on socialist policies! And our businesses are still subject to an overarching over-regulating authority ie the EU. We have a semblance of 'freedom/liberalism', but nowhere close to it

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page

Have your say