16 2 mins 9 yrs

Should you PAY to see your local doctor?

“GPs, who already earn more than £110,000 a year, want to bring in fees to help ease their workload.

More than half of those questioned in a ­survey backed the plan to charge, saying it would weed out time-wasters, slash the number of patients they have to deal with and cut their stress levels.  Dr Shailendra Bhatt, a GP in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, said: “People don’t value things if they get it cheap, worse still if they get it for nothing.”

But the move sparked outrage among patients last night. And even the British Medical Association branded it “a damaging and backward step that would undermine the very principles on which the NHS was founded”.  The survey by medical magazine Pulse found GPs, most of whom no longer work weekends or at night under new contracts, complained they were so stressed they faced “burnout”. Most said they wanted patients to pay between £5 and £25 for each appointment. But one GP suggested a means-tested system, proposing “£10 for the poor, £25 for others, £100 for professionals and £150 for solicitors and accountants”.

Can I just say that I would be quite happy to PAY to see my doctor, when I want. No problem with that whatsoever.

HOWEVER, can I also add that in exchange, I don’t want one penny taken from my taxes to fund them. They cannot parasite off the taxpayer twice. Deal or no deal?

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16 thoughts on “AN UNHEALTHY OBSESSION WITH £££?

  1. Just to add a touch o perspective and intent to the idea of a National health Service. I offer the closing paragraph of:-

    ‘Bevan’s speech to the House of Commons on the Appointed Day 9 February 1948

    May I say this in conclusion? I think it is a sad reflection that this great Act, to which every party has made its contribution, in which every section of the community is vitally interested, should have so stormy a birth. I should have thought, and we all hoped, that the possibilities contained in this Act would have excited the medical profession, that they would have realised that we are setting their feet on a new path entirely, that we ought to take pride in the fact that, despite our financial and economic anxieties, we are still able to do the most civilised thing in the world – put the welfare of the sick in front of every other consideration. I, therefore, deplore the fact that the best elements in the profession have been thrust on one side by the medical politicians, who are not really concerned about the welfare of the people or of their own profession, but are seeking to fish in these troubled waters. I hope the House will not hesitate to tell the British Medical Association that we look forward to this Act starting on 5th July, and that we expect the medical profession to take their proper part in it because we are satisfied that there is nothing in it that any doctor should be otherwise than proud to acknowledge.

    Source: House of Commons Debates, vol. 447, cols. 35/50, 9 February 1948.

    http://bit.ly/161iakX

    If you are really interested, I would suggest you read the whole speech, It will give you some idea of the sheer vitriol of the arguments at that time, – from both sides.

    Of course neither side had any idea of the sheer number of immigrants that membership of the EU would encourage, – yet another instance of those unintended consequences – and I doubt that the idea that such a noble intent could be perverted by greed and abuse. That such a system might morph into a Global Health Service never crossed anyone’s, – let alone a politicians mind. Perhaps we should initiate a system of billing the country of origin of immigrants, – for services rendered!

    How’s that for an idea to help reduce our deficit?

    the concept of a universal global health system

  2. //It will give you some idea of the sheer vitriol of the arguments at that time, //

    It’s interesting how the medical profession was so conservative at the time.

    In Ireland it was even worse. There the men in white closed ranks with a reactionary Catholic church (the Church of Ireland also gave its support) to bring down a law and a government minister who merely wanted to introduce free maternity care for pregnant women and young mothers.

  3. Noel,

    ‘It’s interesting how the medical profession was so conservative at the time.’

    Not quite so, – some where, most weren’t. Of course times have changed and now most are just Mamonites, – along with so many of those who were one called ‘pillars of a community’.

    If only our political class could debate a topic with pacticality and commonsense,and leave the ‘politiking’ to ‘the Stump’. Then we could call them the ‘Rump on the Stump’.

  4. My GP maintains there is a problem with patients who make frequent visits when nothing is wrong. Some are hypochondriacs, but for most ‘it is something to do’ he believes. A very small percentage of the population uses a very large percentage of the local health centre’s resources. He would support a fee after 5 or so visits unless there is a serious problem. Unfortunately when something is free at least a small percentage of the population will take advantage.

  5. New Yorker,

    And that is a problem everywhere, – the answer perhaps lays with education and an appreciation of things other than celebs and pop music!

    That the medical profession itself enourages many pointless visits for regular ‘tests’, gives the impression that perhaps they aren’t quite as over worked as they make out.

    Yes, testing is imporant but with standardised procedures it doesn’t require a fully qualified MD to make an assessment, – or is it that they don’t wish to share the fruit wih the hired help?

  6. “It’s interesting how the medical profession was so conservative at the time.”

    It was a major change. Court propaganda always has it that there was the Beveridge Report, and then “the NHS started in 1948”, as if there was nothing before then.

    Well there was a national health service which was in great part private, and insurance was widespread (through work, the friendly societies and welfare schemes). The NHS collectivised much of it under government ownership and control. There was opposition, the debate around it was very heated and alot of people lost out, but we’re not supposed to know that now.

  7. Ernest Young

    In the US doctors often own the places were tests are done, so it is no surprise they drum up business by ordering excess tests. Do doctors in the UK own the places where tests are done? I have not heard of it in NI.

  8. This business of charging to see a GP is good in theory but will achieve little in practise. Mainly because there will have to be exemptions. Pensioners, people on benefits, those with long term conditions will have to be exempt. Only the healthy younger working population will incur the charges and they are the very people who don’t bother the doctor with trivial visits.

  9. New Yorker,

    Re ownership of the testing facilities, – I don’t think it makes a lot of difference as GP’s as paid on a per capita basis, – the more ‘patients’ they see the more they get. That nurses more often do the simple tests, such as blood sampling and urine testing, maters little the practice still get spaid ‘per patient’.

    It is when you try to get sensible prognosis from the results that that familiar phrase is heard – “Well the Doctor has a free appointment next week!” – which used to be a reliable indicator that the results were, at least satisfactory, – but that is no longer the reality, as today’s news of folk, and in particular, cardiac patients, dying while waiting to ‘see the Doc’, with waiting times growing longer by the week.

    Handing the purse strings, and thus control of the NHS to the GP’s was not a good move.

  10. Colm,

    ‘The healthy younger working population will incur the charges and they are the very people who don’t bother the doctor with trivial visits.

    You are joking of course! What between the drunken yobs a the weekend, soiling the A&E with their drunken behavior, and the teenage unmarried mothers, neeeding help to change nappies at the clinic, it is pretty much a balance between age groups.

    If anything it is the younger generations who do not appreciate the ‘free’ services provided.

    A brief reminder that the NHS and the State pension are not part of any ‘benefits system’, they are, or were, paid for on a regular basis, as you would pay for any private insurance or pension, whether by the individual or the employer.

    They are NOT a benefit, they are an statuory obligation and a legal right that the government has violated, by their duplicitous and deliberately corrupt manipulation.

    Brown showed us all, back in 2002, how trustworthy their word is, that even socialists are prepared to shaft their own supporters shows the contempt in which they hold the electorate.

  11. Of course neither side had any idea of the sheer number of immigrants that membership of the EU would encourage

    It’s not immigration that’s bankrupting the health service. Immigrants are mostly young and the only service they will need is maternity. The real problems are our aging society (in 1948 life expectancy was at least 15 years less than now) and obesity, which is creating a tidal wave of type 2 diabetes which is very expensive to treat. The best thing the government could do to deal with this is to introduce punitive taxes on junk food and sugary drinks.

  12. Peter,

    Yes we have an ageing society, and those pensioners have paid a premium for all of their working lives by way of NIC, for a promise which our politicians took less than a year to renege on.

    In ’48 it was suggested that the premiums should be paid into a fund,prior to pension payments starting, but no, they insisted that was unecessary as this is a government enterprise, and what can go wrong?

    The promise was a basic pension 80% of the ‘average blue collar’ wage. At the current pension of a bare £105.00 p.w. that makes todays average wage approx. £135.00 p.w. – now whos’s been telling us lies for the last sixty five years? Surely in cannot be that same government enterprise mentioned earlier!

    Sure this was always intended to be at most a basic pension to encourage folks to save for their old age, – it didn’t take Westminster too long before dipping their hands into the till did it?

    The gall of it all is the recent launch of yet another state pension ponzi scheme, same as the first with the promise that as workers we are ‘all in it together’. I seem to remember some socilaist jerk, when selling the idea from his ‘snake oil wagon’, stating that ‘All will pay the same, and all will receive the same!’

    Does that ring any bells with some of our older readers? I would very much doubt it as that promise lasted barely a year before ‘adjustments were made’.

    Perhaps our younger readers will remember today’s promises made, and be able to compare them with tomorrow’s promises kept. Suckers!!!

  13. Yes we have an ageing society, and those pensioners have paid a premium for all of their working lives by way of NIC, for a promise which our politicians took less than a year to renege on.

    Ernest

    Yes, but the problem is that working lives used to be 90% of total lives and now they are about 75%, so there is a huge shortfall in contributions. The only solution is to raise the pension age to 70, which is already happening, and it will probably have to be 75 some time in this century. By 2050, 85 will be the equivalent of 65 in 1950.

  14. Peter,

    Which of course begs the question – ‘Just where are all these jobs coming from?’. We cannot all be managers, and somehow I see what jobs that will be will be mostly of the menial sort, I can’t quite visulaise an 80 year old picking spuds or waiting table, – can you?

    The reason for such a dilemma is plain and simple – poor management by the incompetent, indolent and greedy, both in government and commerce. Not forgetting our ‘kick the can down the road’ style of government, which cuts the need for any feeling of responsibility.

  15. Ernest

    Totally agree with your second paragraph.

    Re the first, I think the economy van generate jobs if we do not cripple it with taxes and regulation. For example, the DIY stores are actively recruiting the 60+ age group for their stability and life experience.

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