Would a £10 GP Appointment Fee Save or Destroy the NHS?

By Gary Cutlack on at

Members of the Royal College of Nursing are debating a massively controversial move. They're wondering if they should support charging an appointment fee to see a GP, a tricky move that could either weed out the hypochondriacs or see people delaying or avoiding a critical trip to the doctor.

On the plus side, a £10 fee to make an appointment with a GP could raise millions of pounds per year, money that could help prop up the NHS. And presumably there'd be a long list of exemptions attached, so the elderly might not have to pay to moan about their latest bit that's gone wrong. Some of the money could be reinvested at local level to buy newer magazines to read while waiting, too.

Regardless of the outcome of the RCN cash-for-appointments debate, it seems unlikely to happen, as a Department for Health spokesperson said: "We are absolutely clear that the NHS should be free at the point of use, and we will not charge for GP appointments." [Independent]

Image credit: Waiting room from Shutterstock