Think tank calls for £20 fee for GP appointments

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 says that anyone receiving tax credits should be totally exempt from these charges and from prescription fees, covering the poorest 30% of society.

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

It suggests that NHS charges for GP appointments and prescriptions should be capped at around £100 a year.

The Social Market Foundation also backs local contracts for GPs and consultants with a move away from national targets.

Co-author David Furness said: ‘The core principle of the NHS should be that it is fair. But fair is not the same as free at the point of use. Free care for all will end up making the NHS less fair. The alternative to getting people to ration themselves is a return to rationing by stealth - waiting lists, crumbling hospitals and poor quality services - which hits hardest the poor and sick.

‘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.'

neil.durham@haymarket.com

  • Should GPs charge £20 an appointment?

 


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