Anorak News | NHS Neglect: £20 to See Your Doctor In The Evening (Bring Wine)

NHS Neglect: £20 to See Your Doctor In The Evening (Bring Wine)

by | 4th, June 2007

IS this the beginning of the end of the NHS as we know it?

A group of family doctors is ready to propose a fee of £20 to be charged for evening or weekend appointments. Fears are rising that the founding principles of our health service are set to be fatally undermined.

The £20 charge, which will be proposed at an upcoming British Medical conference, is in response to recent calls for family doctors to justify their hefty salaries, which have jumped to an average of £106,000 per annum.

In 2004, new GP contracts saw 90 per cent of family doctors opt out of providing care in the evenings, at weekend and on Bank Holidays. But with agency doctors and local hospital filling the gaps, patients are growing increasingly unhappy at not being able to access their own GP.

Michael Summers, of the Patients Association, says: “The conditions that people suffer from out of hours are just the same as those they suffer from during the day. Why should they have a second-rate service? I have been campaigning for some time for the out-of-hours service to be overhauled. People will die otherwise.” (Presumably Summers isn’t threatening to murder people himself if he doesn’t get his way.)

However, Andrew Green, a Yorkshire GP, is all for the new charge. He tells us: “They are going to be people in employment, almost by definition, and to ask them to bear the extra costs seems reasonable. I do not think a fee of £15 to £20 would be exorbitant. This should not be paid for from general taxation.”

But don’t we pay for the doctor through tax already?

Posted: 4th, June 2007 | In: Money Comments (2) | TrackBack | Permalink