Reaction from NHA co-leader Dr Clive Peedell to suggestion of a £75 a night charge for hospital beds
We've had endless suggestions for charging for GP visits, charging for hospital bed and board, charging drunks for A&E, or charging an annual NHS fee. What 's next? How soon before someone suggests charging £1500 for a night in intensive care?
Charging patients for hospital, GP or any NHS services is a slippery slope and opens the door to a 2- tier NHS with a premium service for those who can afford it.
Any charging for the NHS also goes against the founding principles of the NHS, that it should be free at the point of use. We already pay for the NHS through our taxes.
The NHA Party has been warning for a long time about the £30 billion funding gap we are facing by 2020. At last politicians are waking up to this. But the only sustainable way to plug that gap is to stop wasting billions on the bureaucracy surrounding privatisation and the internal market and on wonga-style interest payments on PFI deals. We have already argued in favour of a temporary increase in general taxation as the fairest and most efficient way of raising money for a transitional period until the revenue streams from the more long term measures kick in.
By failing to face head-on these crucial issues, politicians are not just burying their heads in the sand but they are burying the entire NHS in the sand.
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