Proposal to charge for some GP services

A FAMILY doctors' representative from Salisbury has proposed charging patients for some GP services.

Helena McKeown told a medical conference that many practices are struggling to recruit doctors, forcing them to cut back on what they can offer.

Years of under-funding by government have caused “immense damage”, she said.

If GPs had a distinct source of funding it would allow them to operate outside of political control and build up their numbers.

Dr McKeown, who is also the Wiltshire councillor for St Edmund and Milford ward, was speaking at a British Medical Association conference on Thursday.

She was acting in her role of vice-chairman of Wiltshire Local Medical Committee, which was one of 11 from around the UK to submit motions on possible “hypothecated charging” for general practice to resolve the staffing crisis.

She told the conference: "The time has come to lead our profession in putting a true price on general practice.

"Currently the government both commissions and controls completely the funding of general practice, so they dictate both what they want, and what they'll pay for, and indeed how much they'll pay for it.

"We are left rationing care in our consulting rooms.

"A fee for some services, to some people, would sustain us while we build up a workforce who want to join us and make general practice more attractive than retirement or general practice abroad.”

However, a former chairman of the GP committee, Dr Laurence Buckman, said: “You do not control demand by making patients pay, you then get survival of the richest, not treatment of the sickest.

"Patients would see this as the final nail in the coffin for our NHS, and GPs would be to blame." The conference voted against the motion but agreed on one which said that "general practice is unsustainable in its current format" and asked the government to define what services can and cannot be accessed in the NHS.

Comments (9)

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5:00pm Tue 27 May 14

hillyanne says...

I'm shocked that she has even mentioned this.It goes TOTALLY against the ethos of the NHS.(By all means use some kind of sanction-_not monetary,necessarily
- for repeat non -attendees for appointments.And instil into everyone that they follow their GP's instructions(finish course of antibiotics etc)to the letter.That might save everyone time and trouble.(Oh.and far more education re smoking,boozing etc.especially in schools.)
I'm shocked that she has even mentioned this.It goes TOTALLY against the ethos of the NHS.(By all means use some kind of sanction-_not monetary,necessarily - for repeat non -attendees for appointments.And instil into everyone that they follow their GP's instructions(finish course of antibiotics etc)to the letter.That might save everyone time and trouble.(Oh.and far more education re smoking,boozing etc.especially in schools.) hillyanne
  • Score: 7

5:35pm Tue 27 May 14

IanMcL says...

Agreed Hillyanne re NHS ethos.

People don't make enough use of Pharmacists, as they do in other countries. It would save loads of doctors appts and a swift answer with remedies on hand would be the better outcome.

Anyway, it's probably only a virus!
Agreed Hillyanne re NHS ethos. People don't make enough use of Pharmacists, as they do in other countries. It would save loads of doctors appts and a swift answer with remedies on hand would be the better outcome. Anyway, it's probably only a virus! IanMcL
  • Score: 8

6:14pm Tue 27 May 14

gingin says...

It would be treatment of the richest not the sickest. What an absolutely stupid idea from Dr Mckeown. The NHS is already in danger of being privatised by the back door and she comes up with this suggestion!
It would be treatment of the richest not the sickest. What an absolutely stupid idea from Dr Mckeown. The NHS is already in danger of being privatised by the back door and she comes up with this suggestion! gingin
  • Score: 7

10:18pm Tue 27 May 14

STRIPEY51 says...

Make all the immigrants pay, who has never paid into the nhs, and make them pay for five years until they have put some money into the pot, and charge people who miss appointments.
Make all the immigrants pay, who has never paid into the nhs, and make them pay for five years until they have put some money into the pot, and charge people who miss appointments. STRIPEY51
  • Score: 9

10:03am Wed 28 May 14

gingin says...

STRIPEY51 wrote:
Make all the immigrants pay, who has never paid into the nhs, and make them pay for five years until they have put some money into the pot, and charge people who miss appointments.
Oh dear everything seems to be the fault of immigrants at the moment.

Agree with charging for missed appointments.
[quote][p][bold]STRIPEY51[/bold] wrote: Make all the immigrants pay, who has never paid into the nhs, and make them pay for five years until they have put some money into the pot, and charge people who miss appointments.[/p][/quote]Oh dear everything seems to be the fault of immigrants at the moment. Agree with charging for missed appointments. gingin
  • Score: 5

5:45pm Thu 29 May 14

IanMcL says...

"Make all the immigrants pay, who has never paid into the nhs"

That should be 'have'.
The reality is that almost all immigrants have a job, pay tax and enhance the UK and the other countries to which they live and work.

I would hope the UK emigrants to the rest of Europe do just the same in their chosen country, although perhaps some just go for the beer and sun.

Immigrants are just people trying to better themselves. We could all pick out some 'Brits' who don't fit that description.
"Make all the immigrants pay, who has never paid into the nhs" That should be 'have'. The reality is that almost all immigrants have a job, pay tax and enhance the UK and the other countries to which they live and work. I would hope the UK emigrants to the rest of Europe do just the same in their chosen country, although perhaps some just go for the beer and sun. Immigrants are just people trying to better themselves. We could all pick out some 'Brits' who don't fit that description. IanMcL
  • Score: 5

3:25pm Sat 31 May 14

Friend of the People says...

Dr McKeown is a Wiltshire Lib Dem councillor. Is charging NHS patients the new Lib Dem policy that will save them from a total electoral wipeout? We should be told.
Dr McKeown is a Wiltshire Lib Dem councillor. Is charging NHS patients the new Lib Dem policy that will save them from a total electoral wipeout? We should be told. Friend of the People
  • Score: 0

8:57pm Sat 31 May 14

nesspah says...

I'm glad she's not my doctor. Surely diagnosing the cause from the symptoms is basic in medicine so how can this doctor be so wrong ?

Any darned fool can see that charging is not the solution to recruitment obstacles and certainly not the answer to tight budgets.

Once again it demonstrates to me that a proportion of doctors aint as clever as they'd have us think.

If you're looking for a new income stream doctor then us patients have loads of ideas for you ........
I'm glad she's not my doctor. Surely diagnosing the cause from the symptoms is basic in medicine so how can this doctor be so wrong ? Any darned fool can see that charging is not the solution to recruitment obstacles and certainly not the answer to tight budgets. Once again it demonstrates to me that a proportion of doctors aint as clever as they'd have us think. If you're looking for a new income stream doctor then us patients have loads of ideas for you ........ nesspah
  • Score: 0

6:20pm Sun 1 Jun 14

karlmarx says...

STRIPEY51 wrote:
Make all the immigrants pay, who has never paid into the nhs, and make them pay for five years until they have put some money into the pot, and charge people who miss appointments.
Rather ironically quite a considerable number of NHS staff are 'immigrants' who pay their taxes and National Insurance. I think you are confusing illegal 'immigrants' who pay no taxes or National Insurance (bit like big businesses) with 'immigrants' who DO pay taxes and National Insurance.
[quote][p][bold]STRIPEY51[/bold] wrote: Make all the immigrants pay, who has never paid into the nhs, and make them pay for five years until they have put some money into the pot, and charge people who miss appointments.[/p][/quote]Rather ironically quite a considerable number of NHS staff are 'immigrants' who pay their taxes and National Insurance. I think you are confusing illegal 'immigrants' who pay no taxes or National Insurance (bit like big businesses) with 'immigrants' who DO pay taxes and National Insurance. karlmarx
  • Score: 7

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