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Patients should pay to see a GP to reduce demand, says Sajid Javid

Patients should pay to see a GP to reduce demand, says Sajid Javid

Patients should pay a fee to see their GP to reduce demand, a recent former health secretary has said.

Sajid Javid said the NHS could not ‘survive much longer’ without substantial change, including some fee payments to see GPs and emergency departments.

In an opinion piece published by The Times on Saturday (21 January), he called the current system ‘unsustainable’ and said the ‘barrier to reform’ is represented by the public’s appreciation of the NHS, which approaches that of ‘a religious fervour.’

He said that NHS’s only rationing mechanism, to make people wait, should be replaced by means-tested fees, while ‘protecting those on low incomes.’

He said: ‘We should look, on a cross-party basis, at extending the contributory principle. This conversation will not be easy, but it can help the NHS ration its finite supply more effectively.

‘Too often the appreciation for the NHS has become a religious fervour and a barrier to reform.

‘We need to shake off the constraints of political discourse and start having a grown-up, hard-headed conversation about alternatives.’

He added that Ireland’s ‘nominal’ €75 (£66) fee for attending an injury unit without a referral, and £20 fees charged for GP appointments in Norway and Sweden could represent possible models.

Writing in the Guardian in response to Mr Javid, former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that payment for services will end up causing people to miss early diagnoses and undermine the entire basis of the NHS.

He said: ‘The direction in which the Conservatives are travelling is already clear. The sick would pay for being sick and charging would force, as has happened with GP and hospital fees in France, the better-off sections of the population to take out private insurance – inevitably creating, in its wake, a two-tier healthcare system.

‘Today’s Conservatives may have clapped NHS nurses and health workers at the height of the pandemic; yet they are not only opposing decent remuneration for them, but also contemplating a more privately financed healthcare system.’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is not ‘currently’ considering the proposals, Downing Street told The Times.

During his campaign for the Tory leadership, Mr Sunak set out plans to issue £10 fines to patients who miss GP appointments.

But he backtracked on the pledge after it was widely criticised by GPs and health leaders.

Under the plans, it would have been up to GPs to make the judgement on whether to fine a patient.

Responding to claims that the Prime Minister was standing by the plans, a spokesperson told Pulse that they have actually been shelved following negative feedback from GPs.

Earlier this month, another former Tory health secretary, Ken Clarke, said that wealthier patients should pay a fee to see their GP as a way to increase funds for the NHS.

Last year, when he was health secretary, Mr Javid floated ideas for GPs to link up with hospitals.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

David Church 23 January, 2023 11:25 am

If this is not privatising the NHS, I don’t know what is!

gregory rose 23 January, 2023 11:42 am

I’ve never been in favour of this, but the way people are treating the NHS post-COVID it does make me wonder now.

Cameron Wilson 23 January, 2023 1:03 pm

Wonderful that Politicians know all the solutions unless they are actually in the post to action them!! See Hunt for details!! Bunch of chancers!!

Sam Macphie 23 January, 2023 1:23 pm

Not right to charge. The worse impacted will be the less well-off and the vulnerable. Perverse. The most able to pay will be the less medically needy. People like Blue Party’s Nadhim Zahawi (resident British?), with undeclared/ taxable amounts disputed by HMRC/ HMRC penalties (on 27 Millions Pounds of off-shore investments!) will benefit. Some of the taxes he owed the coffers of the UK could have gone towards helping the NHS in no small way, but didn’t pay at first (due to his so-called ‘Carelessness’). One should ask do we want such ‘Careless’, or intentionally fraudulent, people as Chancellor of the Exchequer which he was (thank goodness it was for only 2 months last year, and 2 months too long from the sound of things), or sitting round the table of Government which he does, (so far, and how long will this continue?). Where is the integrity of Rashy Sanuk PM who appointed him? His so-called integrity appears less by the hour. Starman MP of the opposition does the right thing to oppose this lot: question Zahawi.
The Guardian, and other honourable news sources, sound rightly interested in the future (or not) of this questionable Zahawi.
Many of the Blue party would have ill people paying for their health, on top of taxes people have already paid, yet not paying their own taxes properly and helping to deprive our NHS. An unbelievable ‘mismanagement government’ with Sanuk at the helm.

Dave Haddock 24 January, 2023 9:05 am

Thank f###!
At last, a sensible suggestion from a politician