An influential group of doctors and surgeons will declare today that the NHS must accept the ‘unpalatable truth’ and start charging patients for services it can no longer afford.
The group will demand that a list is drawn up to tell patients what ‘core’ services they can expect from the NHS and what ‘extras’ they will have to pay for.
Under proposals due to be put before the British Medical Association’s annual meeting in Edinburgh, members will be told that the service can no longer be ‘free-at-the-point-of-contact’.
A motion due to be put forward by the organisation’s Buckinghamshire division will say:‘This meeting requests the BMA to launch a debate with the public and the health professions about what type of health service they wish for in the future and how it could be delivered in a climate of shrinking resources.’
A further motion by the Conference of LMCs agenda committee, the body that represents localNHS GPs, adds: ‘This meeting believes that the government has a full and frank discussion with the public on how to fund the NHS if it is to remain free at the point of care.’
It goes on to say: ‘It is time for conference to face the unpalatable truth that free at the point of contact can no longer be sustained.’