GPs ask to be able to charge patients for quicker services in conference motion

20 May 2023, 00:58 | Updated: 20 May 2023, 09:43

GPs are asking to be able to give express services for fee-paying NHS customers at a professional conference yesterday
GPs are asking to be able to give express services for fee-paying NHS customers at a professional conference yesterday. Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

GPs are demanding the right to charge NHS patients for appointments and create what critics have called a "two-tier system" in healthcare.

A motion passed at the UK Local Medical Committees (LMCs) conference called for the introduction of private services from GPs when the time-frame for NHS offered equivalents are not acceptable.

The move has led to critics saying that the calls represent an introduction of a unfair system in the health service.

Read More: NHS boards asked to draw up plans for junior doctors’ strike

GP magazine Pulse saw many of these critics writing in, including Dr Jessica Randall-Carrick.

Dr Randall-Carrick said: "This motion perpetuates the inverse care law. Those that have the least need of our services will demand it more, and those with the more disease, the more severe disease earlier in life, will be given whatever energy we have left over."

The professional body represents all GP practices and regularly helps shape the British Medical Association in policy.

The professional body regularly feeds the BMA union for policy support relating to GPs
The professional body regularly feeds the BMA union for policy support relating to GPs. Picture: Alamy

The motion was worded: "Conference notes that unlike dentists and pharmacists, GPs cannot currently offer many private services to their NHS patients, and believes that GP surgeries should at their discretion be allowed to offer their NHS patients paid-for services if these services are routinely offered by the NHS but are not accessible in a time frame that the patient deems reasonable."

The reference to NHS dentistry comes after shocking images of hundreds of people queuing to sign up at a dentist's are reminiscent of the "Soviet bloc" and not a 21st century health service, medics have warned.

The huge line formed in King's Lynn, Norfolk, as Smile Dental Care offered 1,000 places to new patients.

But they would only take the first hundred people to sign up each day for 10 days.People started queuing on the high street from 4am, and it grew to 300 people before the quota for the day was hit. The line reformed on Wednesday.

Norfolk is particularly affected by a shortage of dentists and the British Dental Association (BDA) blasted the scenes as reminiscent of the old Soviet bloc.

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