This site is intended for health professionals only

Raise taxes to increase NHS funding, says GP MP

The Government needs to raise more money for the NHS from the public, House of Commons health committee chair and former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston has said.

The Tory MP told the House of Lord’s committee on NHS sustainability that politicians had to decide whether that would be via income tax or through national insurance.

Dr Wollaston, who has previously critcisied the Government for ‘misleading’ the public on the funding increase it is promising the NHS, also criticised ministers for failing to make ‘politically difficult’ decisions that would protect NHS finances by keeping people healthier.

She said: ’I personally think that we should use a mechanism, a public mechanism… either [raising income tax] or through national insurance.

‘I think you need to have a mechanism to bring more money into the system as a whole. It is not for me to tell you what is the right mechanism but I think there needs to be a cross-party consensus about how we achieve that in the long term.’

In the session, Dr Wollaston also called for the Government to put in place more public health measures, going ahead with policies that would make unhealthy food and drink more expensive to consume.

She said: ‘I think the key barrier to this is political will, frankly, because sometimes it means making politically difficult choices.’

But she added: ‘I think if you explain to people why you are making these choices, and actually present it as a form of nudge – you’re not telling people that you can’t do things, you’re not banning things – but you’re making it at the point where people are making decisions, making it easier to make a better choice.’