‘Private top-ups spell the end of truly free NHS'

GPs have criticised a report claiming that patients privately ‘topping up' NHS provision is becoming the norm.

Doctors for Reform, a non-party group of NHS doctors.

The group has said patients’ routine use of private payments to supplement care received by the NHS means the health service is no longer free at the point of delivery.

The report, written by three NHS doctors, claimed that the so-called ‘top-up payments’ are prompted by long waiting lists and a postcode lottery.

But the NHS Alliance has described the Doctors for Reform report as ‘wrong’.

NHS Alliance chairman Dr Michael Dixon said that the widespread introduction of top-up payments would lead to a two-tier health system in which only the better-off would benefit.

He added that they would make NHS administration costs soar by doubling or tripling the current spend.

‘The tax-funded NHS, like any other human system, is not perfect but it is considerably better than any other alternative,’ said Dr Dixon.

GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden said that the BMA was to issue a green paper on NHS funding this spring. 

Doctors for Reform has written to the three major political parties, the heads of the royal colleges and the BMA urging them to engage in a debate on the future of NHS funding.

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