New plans to be debated by MPs may force patients in England to have to pay to see their GP.
The fees have been suggested in a private members bill put forward by Tory MP Christopher Chope in order to “make provision for co-funding and for the extension of co-payment for NHS services in England”.
‘An appalling idea’
Mr Chope’s proposal for the introduction of charges has come under fire, with concerns raised about the lack of access to medical care for those who cannot afford to pay the fees.
“This is an appalling idea,” Joyce Robins from Patient Concern told The Sun.
“Patients who cannot afford to pay medical fees would be put off getting an appointment and their condition could get worse.
“They are likely to end up in A&E when it’s too late to save them and where costs to the NHS are far higher than a GP consultation.
“People could end up dying at home.”
While the proposed plans seem to be proving controversial, a survey by GP magazine Pulse found that more than half of family doctors are in favour of charging a ‘small fee’ for routine appointments.
However, a motion proposing appointment charges was voted down by the British Medical Association at their annual meeting earlier this year.
Mr Chope’s suggestion of introducing medical charges is just the latest bill to land him under fire, having recently caused outrage for being the only MP to block a widely-supported bill to outlaw ‘upskirting’ in June.