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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Cumbrian GP claims plans to charge patients will shoot NHS in both feet

A Cumbrian GP claims proposals to charge patients for appointments would be “shooting the NHS in both feet”.

Peter Weaving photo
Dr Peter Weaving

Dr Peter Weaving was reacting to a suggestion by the British Medical Association, which would see people forced to pay when they book a consultation.

The idea behind the proposal – which will be debated at a national medical conference on May 22 – is to deter patients from missing appointments, something which costs the NHS an estimated £160m each year.

Fees could possibly range between £10 and £25, but critics fear such charges could put people off from seeking help.

Dr Weaving, who works at the newly opened North Carlisle Medical Practice, firmly believes the proposals are a bad idea.

“The burden of the NHS is that as far as possible it is free at the point of service,” he insisted. “You are more likely to need a GP if you are frail or old. Are they saying people will be unduly penalised because of their health? Will people be deterred from seeking help because of the costs?

“It shoots the NHS in both feet in a number of different ways.”

Dr Weaving has worked in British Columbia, where patients were charged $50 to see a doctor.

He said the problem was not so much that patients had to pay, but that patients were aware their doctor was getting a “chunk of money” to see them – and they wanted their money’s worth.

“Charging for appointments is a bit of a knee-jerk reaction from the profession and partly reflects how busy and complicated health care has got.”

Dr Weaving believes that the time has come to expand GP services, but also to look more closely at the issue of recruitment.

He said: “Those who are there feel increasingly busy and, in some areas there are significant recruitment and retention issues. In Carlisle itself we are short of nearly 10 full-time GPs that we cannot appoint. That is in a county that, compared to the rest if the country, is relatively well-off.

“If we have issues, you can imagine the rest of the country is far worse.”

The proposal will be debated at the British Medical Association’s local medical committee conference in York on May 22. If the vote is passed, the BMA would then have to decide whether to ask the Department of Health to impose a national charging system.

Have your say

what there doing at my GPs surgery there nurses are spending to much time on things like Diabetic clinics,ok im a diabetic myself,and know that Diabetics dont need,to go to nurses for blood tests,and get there blood pressure taken every month taking up 20 minute appointments.its time the GPs them selves sorted out there own practices first.ps maybe less tea breaks would help aswell.

Posted by charlie & Tommy on 7 June 2014 at 12:41

Think the gp is correct when he says it takes a lot of money for nhs services, but as a tax payer maybe somebody should tell the stupid hospital that nobody wanted a stupid art gallery built with their money, or flat screen tv's everywhere bleeting on about patient safety,this is the public purse,not high up managers deciding how to spend that so called desperately low budget. The nhs seem to have money stashed away for idiotic things like that so not as hard up as they make out,wonder what jeremy hunt would make of it,health professionals are all the same now, bleed the nhs dry then retire.

Posted by miss bendy on 24 May 2014 at 21:48

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