Former health minister Sajid Javid said patients should be charged for GP appointments and emergency and emergency visits, criticizing the NHS model as “unsustainable”. He argued that “extension of the contribution principle” should be included in health care reform, but do you agree? Vote in our poll.
The Tory MP said in an op-ed for The Times that he wants the NHS to be reformed, calling for “mature, sober talk”. He added that “too often, NHS recognition has become religious fervor and an obstacle to reform.”
He continued: “We must consider, on a cross-party basis, the expansion of the contribution principle. This conversation will not be easy, but it could help the NHS allocate its limited supplies more efficiently.”
READ MORE: Sajid Javid says patients should pay for emergency care
Mr. Javid said the current rationing system for growing waiting lists should be replaced by means-tested fees that protect people on low incomes. He singled out a “nominal” fee of €75 (£66) in Ireland for trauma visits without a referral and a £20 fee for GP visits in Norway and Sweden as potential models for the UK.
In response, Downing Street said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was “not currently” considering the proposal. Mr Sunak has proposed a £10 fine for patients who miss NHS GP or hospital appointments during his campaign for Conservative leadership, but backtracked on his promise after criticizing the principle of free treatment.
Dr Nick Mann, GP and member of the non-partisan campaign group Keep Our NHS Public, told inews.co.uk: “From a practical standpoint, charging patients to access their GP or go to the emergency room is a zombie. an idea that is expensive to operate and acts as a deterrent to patient groups most in need of care. The public is already paying for the NHS through taxation. The idea of charging patients extra for accessing basic medical services is a slippery slope – just look at dentistry.”
So what do you think? Should NHS patients be charged? Vote in our poll and leave your opinion in the comments section below.