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Author Topic: GPs in Shropshire to demand NHS patients must pay for routine appointments  (Read 128 times)

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Leading GPs from across Britain, including in Shropshire, will insist that charging patients for consultations is the only way to end the crisis in general practice – recently described by the British Medical Association as being “at breaking point”.

Desperate patients now routinely have to wait three weeks to see their doctor, while surgeries are struggling to recruit as GPs leave in droves.

The British Medical Association said charging patients for consultation was the only way to end the crisis in general practice.

The move, which would end the principle of an NHS free at the point of delivery, will be discussed at a major BMA conference in Edinburgh on Thursday.

Those behind the proposal argue charging for appointments will raise millions for the NHS – and discourage people with minor ailments from clogging up GP surgeries.

But opponents say charges will put the poor at greater risk of serious problems such as cancer going undetected.

Among those in favour of charges is the Shropshire Local Medical Committee, which represents GPs in the county. Dr Mary McCarthy, who is a member of the committee, said: “Shropshire submitted a motion on this idea to the forthcoming LMC Conference.

“Hundreds of motions are submitted from around the country and there is no guarantee that any specific ones will be debated or indeed passed since each motion – after speeches for and against – is then voted on.

“Shropshire’s submitted motion says ‘conference believes that attempts to increase GP capacity by extending opening hours or using other health professionals has failed, and proposes that the emphasis must now switch from increasing capacity to reducing demand and that the most effective way to do this would be to introduce a token charge for GP consultations’.

“We were reflecting on the change in behaviour induced by a 5p charge on carrier bags and wondered if a similar token 5p charge might make demands for GP appointments more thoughtful and appropriate. There is no expectation that this motion will be passed.”

“However, the pattern of demand in the UK is considerably out of line with other European countries. We are out of line with equivalent countries and we are not sure why.”

In an official motion to be discussed at the BMA conference, it argues that the NHS must focus on reducing demand for GP appointments “and that the most effective way to do this would be to introduce a token charge for GP consultations”.

To soften the blow it proposes “a mechanism to reimburse the elderly and those on low incomes”.

The Government has repeatedly stressed that it has no plans to introduce charges for GP consultations.

Read more at https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/health/2017/05/16/gps-in-shropshire-to-demand-nhs-patients-must-pay-for-routine-appointments/#8X46dIPBdwVJ6Tvm.99
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