NHS out-of-hours charges are wrong - richer people shouldn't get better care, says London GP

NHS out-of-hours charges: 'Rules protect people who can't pay and ensure equality', says London GP

Doctors could be allowed to charge people who aren't their regular patients for out-of-hours treatment under new proposals

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A London GP has dismissed planned proposals to charge for healthcare outside of contracted times because it could potentially discriminate against poorer patients.

This comes in reponse to proposals put forward by GP leaders to find ways to alternatively fund the National Health Service.

The proposals suggest that GPs should be allowed to charge individuals when they work in their own time, with a third-party company managing the payments. 

London GP Dr. Laurence Buckman, who also chairs the British Medical Association's General Practitioners Committee, explained how this idea has been circulating for 40 years and is wrong.

He told Julia Hartley-Brewer: "If you treat someone who’s not your NHS patient, you can charge them anything.

“But the idea of charging people for healthcare means, as usual, people who have money will get what they want when they want it, and I think discriminating patients because of their ability to pay is wrong.

"The rules are there for a reason - to protect people that can’t pay and that all of us are equal."