Think tank backs £20 fee for GP visit

Patients should be charged £20 for a GP appointment, to encourage healthier, wealthier people to avoid using the NHS, according to independent think tank the Social Market Foundation.

It said anyone receiving tax credits should be exempt from the charge, and from prescription fees, covering the poorest 30 per cent of society.

It called for a reform of the NHS charging system to reflect income, not categories such as pregnancy or retirement.

NHS charges for GP appointments and prescriptions should be capped at around £100 a year, the think-tank suggested.

Co-author David Furness said: 'The charging system should be completely overhauled to make sure that the poorest people get completely free care. Sir Fred Goodwin should not get free prescriptions, when he picks up his pension, while working people pay for drugs.'

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