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A faulty production line

Charge up to £25 for a GP visit, says influential think-tank

An influential think-tank has recommended the Government considers charging patients up to £25 for a GP appointment, becoming the latest in a series of recent reports mooting the controversial move.

The King’s Fund report, ‘A new settlement for health and social care’, says that ‘hard choices’ will needed to be made to maintain a ‘high-quality seamless service for the 21st century’.

It concludes that solving the lack of resources will require four elements: improved productivity; a change in the way resources are spent; an increase in taxation; and some new or higher charges.

The report follows similar comments by former health secretary Lord Warner this week, who recommended a £10 monthly subscription to pay for health services.

The King’s Fund report says the health service has to be better resourced to cope with the challenges of an ageing society and technological advances in medicine.

It suggests a charge of between £5 and £25 to see a GP - but notes that countries such as New Zealand and Sweden charge at the higher end of that range.

The report estimates a charge of £10 to see a GP, practice nurse or other primary care professional, or simply to have a GP consultation over the phone, might raise around £3 billion; a similar charge for A&E visits could raise a further £220 million.

A Pulse survey last year found that just 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 and curbing rising patient demand.

Of the 440 GPs polled in the survey, 51% said they would support charging a small fee for GP appointments, compared with 36% who would not.  

Readers' comments (24)

  • Dr Mustapha Tahir

    Not a bad idea but a vote looser! Which of the major Political Parties could be bold enough to add this proposal to their manifesto for the 2015 General Elections??

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  • Took Early Retirement

    Indeed, Electoral Suicide: it won;t happen. Not even worth a comment really!

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  • Bornjovial

    Can charge for DNA`s. Keeps the NHS free for treatment still. Suggest £10-25 for GP and £50-150 for Hospital appt DNA. Make sure thay have been sent appt in a provable way as letters tend to go "missing". Usually a sms text with a delivery receipt would be sufficient. If they dont pay they don`t get next appt till they do. Deduct from benefits if on same or onto tax if taxpayer. It wont riase much money but will improve efficiency by 10% with little protest.
    Local Hospital DNA is 12% and surgery used to be 10-11% but after we started sending reminder letters after 3 DNA`s-has decreased tremendously.

    Also make private treatments tax deductible as in many countrie, which will make well off seek private care quicker and free up NHS resources.

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  • And this is paid for how, health insurance oh i see what model we're going for here - where was Hunt last week?
    The end of the NATIONAL health service and a return to a health service for only people who can afford it to keep GPs and Consultants in high pay and with wonderful pensions. Whilst the stae of health in the UK makes us third rate and less competitive and living in conditions the like we have not seen since the creation of the NHS? I'm just glad that any party of government who introduces this will be unelectable for generations - unless they get some gullible bunch of fools to lead the destructionof the NHS!

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  • No - and this is why - the money collected will go to fund NHSE / Monitor / Quangos/ bureaucrats and will not go back to front line staff or patients.

    The public will then think that the money is going to GPs and we will be blamed for being even 'fatter cats'. I would rather the system collapse and we start again with payment collected by primary care staying in primary care!

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  • If you want to charge anyone, then why not charge overseas visitors who have no residency rights yet are using up the resources meant for those who actually reside in the UK?

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  • why not charge overseas visitors

    These are charged when they do not have access or if there isn't a reciprocal arrangement. Whilst the right-wingers would have everyone believe this is a big problem, it isn't. Primary care is at risk of collapsing due to the demands of the indigenous population, not a few immigrants abusing the service.

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  • Imagine the disparity if one doctor prescribes 28 days for a ££ consultation while another prescribes 3 x 28 days"

    Not allowed on NHS.

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  • I know - why not give back taxpayers all their money and let them pay doctors directly for time or service.

    It will totally solve demand vs supply and overall be a fairer system.

    Those that can not afford it will have their health costs underwritten by the government (means tested).

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  • It's not just about charging, it's about whether GPs see themselves as first and foremost private practitioners with public co-payments - as GPs see themselves in NZ - or if they still see themselves as public servants. Bear in mind NZ system is seen as less equitable than health systems that are free at point of access.

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