“The £10 GP Toe”

In recent weeks lots of stories have been appearing in the press and on TV about the pressures put on the NHS, particularly by the increasing numbers and increasingly frail elderly population.  This of course has nothing to do with the upcoming general election in a years’ time.  The Government has wrapped itself in a NHS flag for the whole of this parliament and “protected” the NHS from the austerity cuts.  Though cost of living increases in NHS budgets do not compensate for the growth in the elderly population.

So with a new election looming, toes are being put in the water to see what the general public will stand in terms of some degree of charges.  The first toe is the idea of a £10 charge for GP visits – an American style answer.

  • It is a daft idea because £10 is not nearly enough to cover the cost of a visit – a drop-in visit to a GP medical centre in America this year cost $80 (£50) as you walk in through the door;
  • It is a daft idea because at £10 it would probably be readily accepted, even by the poorest patient. Currently they spend more than £10 in phone bills trying to get an appointment, and if they do succeed in getting through, they may still have to wait several days to see the doctor;
  • It is a daft idea because it would probably be so successful that for £10 the GP services would be overwhelmed with demanding patients who as “paying customers” would want value for money or a refund if they came away with no medication;
  • It is a daft idea because it would cost most of the £10 in administration costs to collect it;
  • It is a daft idea because unless you extend the charge to hospital visits as well, many people would go to A & E to save the £10. Then hospitals would be even more snarled up with older people than they are already.

Still, you can learn something from this first toe in the water – the Government is thinking of introducing charges into the NHS after the next election but they won’t admit it before then.

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2 Responses to “The £10 GP Toe”

  1. This story is more than Kite Flying, and as you say has a sting in the tail. I have forgotten when the retirement age compusory for a ‘State Pension reaches 70 years old? However until that date all those over pensionable age and recieving in excess of a state pension I assumme will be charged National Insurance to help pay for NHS Charges and services, but not welfare and care home benifits.
    The devil is in the detail for instance, one argument is that having paid NI all one’s working life, one now has no choice, but to continue doing so ( all be it at a reduced of £10 per month or week?)
    Again if one has a pension being paid which is in excess of the state pension, and then to what finiancial limits of Income does one pay this, maybe flat Rate Pesnioners NI – a granny tax.
    If one is elderly and is caught in this income bracket, and assisting or paying care home fees for a family member (Blood Relative-or inlaw) does one get a remission on the total NI grannie tax payable, equal to the pay charges given to the care home fees or topp up fees which ever maybe the case.
    You are the ‘N—-R’ in the proverbial woodpile John, Good on you.
    At the moment my mind is not quite on this subject but the Scottish Issue and the Scottish Referendum? What will wash out of this (NI-Grannie tax) agreement(s) when this the Scottish issue is made? Is it more porrage for the Scots and Welsh, and B—r the English.

  2. Confused of Milton Keynes Here? Have you any thoughts? Please.
    Last night I watched the ITV Programme Broadcast at 20:00 Hours 14/08/2014 ‘Fit for Practice’ and my mind is in a whir!
    I did not appriciate that general practice doctors operate out side the NHS, with respect to employment law, and that they may be judged to be an ‘Enterpurential or small Business’.
    While doctors in a hospital and general consultants are employed direct by the NHS (Machine).
    The weeping and wailing by GP doctors does not stand up to scrutany, and I fail to understand the relationship between the GMC (General Medical Council-Who always appear to me to represent the doctors on bloc (Hospital and GP’s, consultants) with terms of ethical practice-which I understand and terms of employment (Union affairs) which I now do not appriciate or understand?
    The problem I have as a patient is I see the NHS umbrella covering all aspects of health and welfare seamlessly, I do not see or understand the subtlties of employment law and terms and conditions.
    This is a ‘dogs breakfast’ and the GP’s while I may simpathise with them. They have to some extent created their own conundrum.
    The respect I have for my Gp is genuine provided he/she at the consultation shows me respect and dignity.
    I would wish to understand the complete picture, and so some extent Medicine is a vocation or calling: like the church: However In my opinion those who society are willing to train and look up to for medical knowledge are in an absolute position of trust, and they may be paid an income: Not exorbitant but to reflect their status in society and how they have the knowledge which we unwashed citezens do not have of pills potions and cures which could cure one ailments or send one on their way to their maker. Maybe in this modern day and age medicine needs a micorscopic investigation and a true Public enquirey into all aspects of medical treatments, ans ailments such that the Gp’s are the guides to pain relief and the gatekeepers to invasive treatments, by our hospital consultants, and physicians, the rest of The NHS.
    The whole picture and a complete review of the medical side of the NHS needs a comprehensive overhaul in my opion, and completed with openeness and honesty.

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