Letters, calls and emails: Right to charge for any non-NHS services

Dear Editor

I read Dr Mir's letter about patients paying for defence union fees with interest (GP, 30 November). He raises three important issues.

I believe that defence union fees are our responsibility, just as public liability insurance is that of any business.

I am not convinced of our ongoing responsibility for paying GMC fees. It would appear that the balance between 'guiding doctors and protecting patients' has shifted towards patient protection with the diminishing requirements to bring a misconduct case before the GMC and the transition to an independent adjudication body. Why should doctors pay for the kangaroo court set up to hang them?

The third issue is charging patients. It is evident that neither national nor local NHS management is keen to engage traditional providers in future new services. A step in the right direction would be to provide private services to NHS patients where these are not available or planned as NHS treatment acceptable to patients.

Dr Minesh Patel, East Grinstead, West Sussex.

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