BMA chief warns against NHS charges

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Published: Saturday 4th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Whoever forms the next government must resist the temptation to introduce charges on the NHS, one of the country’s leading doctors has said.

Making patients pay for visits to their doctor would “destroy the ultimate ethos” of the health service, British Medical Association chairman Dr Mark Porter told the Guardian.

The consultant anaesthetist said he thinks those in power after the General Election could be tempted to bring in charges, but warned against it, arguing it could prevent the most vulnerable people from getting the care they need.

“It’s inescapable that you’re deterring people from seeking healthcare. You deter poor people and sick people from seeking the healthcare they need,” he told the paper.

Dr Porter said some people have already been discouraged from visiting their dentist because of the associated charges, and warned others had been “bankrupted by social care”.

A report from the Social Market Foundation published last month said making people pay towards their NHS treatment could be used to reduce pressure on funding for social care.

The think tank put forward a proposal to introduce Personal Care Accounts, where both the individual and the state contribute towards the costs of NHS and social care treatments.

Those on low incomes or with low levels of wealth would be exempt, it said, adding that its plans would redistribute the costs of social care more fairly across the population and fund a £12 billion funding gap in health and social care services by 2020.

Published: Saturday 4th April 2015 by The News Editor

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