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NHS not free within 10 years

16th April 2007

According to a British Medical Association poll, more than half the doctors surveyed expected patients to pay for treatment within 10 years.

Pound Coins

61% of the 964 young GPs and hospital doctors polled - members of the BMA's Junior Members Forum - believed patients would have to pay for some treatment by 2017. Almost half thought they would leave the NHS by that date. Over 90% of doctors believed the private sector would continue to expand.

Forum chairman Dr Andrew Thomson stated that an ageing population and increases in drug prices made a debate about the future of the NHS important.

He said: "Doctors fear that current reforms are damaging the NHS beyond repair. We seem to be selling off the service to the highest bidder without considering the legacy for future generations of patients."

Different options have been proposed, including the suggestions that patients pay for minor operations or scrapping the idea of NHS care altogether. The idea of introducing a health service tax has also been considered. Dr Thomson stated that his members had not agreed in favour of any particular option. The issue is likely to be debated at the BMA's annual conference later this year, where future policy is agreed.

Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have decided against fee-charging in their short-term health policies.

A spokesman for the Department of Health told the BBC: "What will not change is our commitment to a universal, tax-funded service, with equal access for all."

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Comments

Karen McDonald

Wednesday 18th April 2007 @ 21:49

It's obvious to anyone breathing, that government wants to privatise the NHS - the process is already underway - selling off NHS buildings and renting them back to the NHS at extortionate rates...
Too many chiefs and not enough indians; too many chiefs spoil the broth; ie too many administrators and not enough ground level staff in hospitals and surgeries.
More and more services are either being axed, or now being charged for. But I tell you what - if the NHS gets buried, it will be the start of a new civil war in the UK - one that the very wealthy, who can afford private care, will NOT win. There are far more hand-to-mouths than dosh-ites!


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