Video: BMA deputy chair warns GPs against NHS co-payments

The BMA deputy chair has spoken out against proposals for co-payments as LMCs voted to draw up a potential charging system for some general practice services.

GP leaders at the LMC conference 2017 in Edinburgh backed calls for the the GPC to produce a 'discussion paper outlining alternative funding options for general practice, including co-payments'.

The debate came on the same day as a motion in which GP leaders reasserted their view that GP practices should be allowed to charge patients for services not available on the NHS.

Lancashire GP and BMA deputy chair Dr David Wrigley said that 10 years ago this subject would not even have been on the table for GPs.

GP funding

Only 'gross underinvestment' in general practice had driven GPs to the point where they were talking about considering introducing charges for some NHS services, he told GPonline.

He warned that asking patients to pay for services was unfair, adding: 'It will lead to GPs getting the blame for introducing and talking about these things when actually politicians are the ones who have brought this about.

'The NHS is so underfunded that we are seeing general practice is collapsing, we are seeing surgeries close, the workload is intolerable and as we've seen in surveys GPs don't feel they can provide a safe service - that has led them to the nuclear option of [considering] introducing charges to try and stem demand.'

He warned that the move would be the first step towards switching to an insurance-based NHS model.

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