Log in
Asthma UK community forum
12,633 members18,350 posts

Patients should be charged a tenner for every GP appointment

Patients should be charged a tenner for every GP appointment, says an ‘influential’ right-wing think-tank today. Reform says charging patients a 'token' amount could save the NHS £1.6billion by 2014, and help cut the deficit.

The controversial report - published today ahead of next week's Budget – also recommends cutting a fifth from the health budget, shedding 250,000 staff and leaving sick people to be eaten by dogs. Oops – scratch the dogs bit.

tinyurl.com/34wl49b (original text source)

Is it just me, but I feel I already pay for this...or will I get a tax refund/deduction? I could understand if you fail to turn up to an appointment, but how many of us go only to be told were fine and then return a few days later with a missed chest infection or something.

20 Replies

I dont think patients should be charged as we pay enough for our meds,

Make meds free then maybe a good idea,

At the moment we are between docs as not found a doc to replace the one who left.


:O *shocked* I would be seriously poor if this were the case because my GP insists on seeing me weekly to keep a close eye on me, plus when I'm having a bad phase I'm seen even more often, sometimes daily to get me though a difficult patch and hopefully avoid hospital. Although this seems extreme it actually saves the NHS money by being proactive and stopping admissions.

Charging like this would deter patients who really need to see their GPs from getting help and push more people into hospital either because they haven't got help soon enough or because they see it as a free alternative.

I do however see the point in charging or having some sort of penalty for missed appointments without good reason as this reduces access for others.

The other thing that been suggested recently is the idea of fining hospitals for re-admissions. On the one hand this is good if it means they ensure we're fit to leave, but on the other I think it could be problematic for someone like me with BA. I've had plenty of re-admissions within 30 days. A few were because I was discharged too early, but mostly it was just because that's the nature of my asthma. I would worry that hospitals would either keep me in unnecessarily (I could end up a Costa prisoner for the whole of Winter!) so I didn't end up kangaroo bouncing back a few weeks later, or else if I had been discharged and then within 30 days went back to A&E, they would be loath to admit me even if I needed it because they knew they wouldn't be paid for my treatment.

What are others' thoughts on this?


i already pay my taxes for a free nhs... as such that includes consultation with my gp free of charge. the £10 will stop people attending gp and attending a and e instead. which already stretched to the limits at times, plus with cuts to staff numbers already planned and implemented this wont be a cost effective meassure. this idea is the worse ive heard from a long time.....


I'm totally disgusted with this!! It most certainly will create more problems rather than solve them. Methinks it's just the beginning for this government and we'll even be charged for "" the air that we breathe"". ( cue for a song ) Hmm wonder if we would qualify for a discount on the grounds that we don't take in as much O2 as others. Take care everyone. LIZ x x


The majority of my gp appts are not ones I want to go to, they are ones that the gp wants so I don't think I should have to pay as quite frequently they are completely pointless! I also agree that A&E would basically become a free GP service which would put too much pressure on A&E and make it worse for people who really need it. I can see the point of charging for missed appts though, last night my asthma was really bad and I got very little sleep so I slept through three alarms and missed my appt, felt really guilty and had to ring up to apologised :)

my mum works in a hospital and says that often paitients are rushed out to free up beds for new patients andthen are returned seriously I'll a few days later so in those circumstances however for some people 30 days at home is a long time away from hospital. I think that there should be summit that patients and docs can sign to say they accept that they will probs be readmitted within a month to get rid of that problem!


If they fail to notice a problem maybe they have to pay us, could make a lot of money here!I already pay tax so it's a con.

They should charge for missed appointments, I have to pay if I miss the dentist or chiropractors appointments.

Also they should charge people £250 a time for an ambulance when they have been binge drinking or high as self inflicted, maybe I'm being mean but it may make them think twice if they have to pay towards care.


This isn't a new idea - it's been raised before. What a cheek, when u think how much tax people pay. But I doubt it will ever happen - can u imagine the bureaucracy that would be needed to collect all those ten pounds? It would be a nightmare!!


I've worked out if these happened i'd probably have to pay between £300 - £600 a year to go see my doc, cos I suffer from various other health conditions as well as my asthma. On top of prescriptions thats a lot to pay to try and keep stable!


£10 for every doc appointment

I rarely get to see my gp as always too sick. But he gets all my discharge letters and reports and told me I am the sickest patient he has out of 11,000 patients and two surgeries that he runs and he's very concerned about my asthma. Yeah it stops me from seeing my gp now. so They should pay me £10 for every lost opportunity. I know if they enforce this most will go to hospital and they are being overrun with drunks and those who attack the staff. Its a bad idea ,maybe they can get savings elsewhere?


They are talking about £20 in Wales.

This is typical of a policy which is made by people who may visit their Doctor once in a blue moon for antibiotics or to have a zit looked at who have no understanding of the 1001 chronic diseases that require frequent visits.

If they do it I hope there will be a sliding scale but I doubt it. The country is bankrupt and we are only holding on by our finger-nails.

Perhaps they could cut GP wages to 50K maximum and kick the BMA or GMA or whatever it is called - you know, the Doctor's union for that is what it is - out as they basically limit the number of Doctors trained in the UK resulted in a chronic shortage of Doctors which means we must keep their salaries high.

Only the US, UK and Oz pays obscene wages to Doctors... Sorry, I am going off on one...


Ignore it! It is exactly what it says on the tin - the expert opinion of a right-wing think tank. They'll have loads of loony ideas worse than this one that all revolve around money. And they'll probably be a bit racist and a bit sexist too, they usually are with the far-right. There'll be loads of ideas about saving money by sterilising us all sor something. The tories, sorry the coalition, :O) don't actually have to cut that much money, relatively speaking, so I don't think they will listen to a crazy right-wing think tank. Or would they.......


I remember when my DH and others worked in the NHS, some 30 years ago. They'd come home with smiley faces as all work completed well and fast although no targets set.

About 20 years ago, that all changed. Different management structures meant no more feeling good at a job well done. With the introduction of targets, pride in completing tasks had gone. Almost as if the good job you were doing was doubted in some way.

Within the last ten years, I've noticed ancillary and admin staff cutting back on their tasks bigstyle. Letters being up to two months behind in some cases. Being a temp, you find out these things and although willing to type like the wind to clear the backlog, this is frowned upon by some permanent staff who see it as a bargaining tool for more money.

IMPO 1. I'd eject people who laze about all day - well known fact the NHS is a job for life with good pension and rarely is anyone sacked.

2. Then remove this target oriented practice as makes the good guys feel big brother us watching their every move - it's not BB, it's the unmotivated other staff waiting to dob you in.

Sorry. Bit of a rant there.


There is a new publication (edited by Neil Churchill) from the Smith Institute, which quotes research in Chapter 1 about service charges - smith-institute.org.uk/publ... or shortened bit.ly/anusBC . It suggests that such charges deter vulnerable lower income groups from visiting their GPs but actually encourage the better-off 'worried well' to demand more care (which might not represent wise use of resources). Their conclusion is that overall, service charges actually create unhelpful behaviours. The publication is accessible from the link given above.


I think repeat non-attenders should have to pay a fine, perhaps ten pounds a time - maybe something like three no-shows in a to year period mean you have to pay up?

Punishing people with chronic illnesses for being sick is just... well, I can't say what I'm thinking because it's very rude. Discouraging people from using their first port of call is not going to improve public health though.


My health centre has a policy of three no-shows in a year and you're kicked off the patient list. I don't know if it's enforced or not, but for me at least the threat in itself is enough of a deterrent, although I remember when I was in Costa earlier this year, I had 2 GP appointments and a nurse appointment booked and I missed them all, I couldn't speak at the time being all wired up and on constant high-flow oxygen and all I can remember is being terrified that when I finally escaped I wouldn't have a GP anymore! I sent a frantic email to the practice manager as soon as I could begging not to be kicked out, but was told that of course they weren't going to kick me out when it wasn't my fault I missed the appointments - all that stress for nothing at a time I really could have done without it!

In terms of hospitals and appointments, I would suggest that in some cases admin needs looking at before the blame is put on patients for not attending. Recently my GP referred me for a test, about a month later I got a letter saying ""as you didn't turn up we can no longer see you and are sending you back to your GP"". I never received a letter telling me to go in the first place.


I'd take this with a pinch of salt. I worked in GP surgeries for years until

I became too unwell and remember this being discussed over 10 years ago! I've never

heard a Doctor say it's a good idea they all opposed it saying they don't work in

the same way as Dentists. It seems to me controversial plans such as this and taking Dla

carr component from the claimant and handing to Social Services seem to rear their ugly

heads every so often. I'll worry about it when it happens until then won't give it a second



I think patients should be charged when they go past the allocated 20 mins per patient time - i have on occassions had to wait 45mins to an hour from the time of my appointment to be seen while i sat outside and watch time go by.

you are allowed to book two timeslots at my surgery if it is a complicated matter but you still get the odd person who does not realised that others are just a sick waiting outside - and they did not bother to book and extended appointment.


confused, think it's 10min time slots, but I've spent many occasions with my gp 20-30 mins and just talking about other stuff, woodworking, books, computers, cycling etc. I do usually get a late appointment so not so bad and we do have those common interests. Sometimes I'd like to go but as a GP he's OK.

I'd rather they run late and take the time needed for each patient and not clock watch. Maybe my asthma nurse should clock watch, I waited 45mins for her, she was only doing paperwork and forgot LOL,


woody i absolutly agree with you, if your the last appointment and you know you are then go ahead no problem. My practice has a few addresses/branches and the one to has been redone but left with thin wall on the morning of my appointment i had 2 people who took up 45 mins and the lady before me must have a bad shoulder as i heard the gp say 4 times use a sling and she was talking continously!

i dont agree with the 10min per patient thing and is some one goes into 20 or 30 thats fine i had an hour wait on two occassions. If they implimented a running over schedule fee then people would be more aware of this. By the time i left the waiting room was full!

also what you said about the asthma nurse is so right - i stopped going as she would not read the notes and i had to do my asthma life story at every visit! (ends with me in a jaw ache!) now only see this doctor but as she is good its such a pain that there are loads of people who also only see her but are also so inconsiderate (she left a note on the system that i can get 20mins appointments but that doesnt mean i ever get seen on time!)


we have an electronic appointment system, and it will tell you how long you have to wait if they are running behind.

I can't fault either my GP or the nurse, I get plenty of time with the nurse, never rushed, booking slots for her are 30mins IIRC. she's on time apart from that one occasion but she was doing the wages for the surgery and did apologise. Notes are on the computer and she reads them, but actually she remembers most of it.


You may also like...