Could a £5 charge to see your GP help save the NHS?

Attentive female doctor listening to patient in doctor s office
Would a £5 charge to see your GP help save the struggling NHS? (Picture: Getty)

The huge pressure on Britain’s health service is no secret, with every area from hospitals to GP surgeries facing the strain.

From waiting lists to parking costs and staffing issues, funding the NHS is a growing problem.

But despite the regularly-reported difficulties, Britain remains up there with the best when it comes to how satisfied we are with our health service.

According to a YouGov poll last year, 54% of Brits are satisfied with our healthcare system, second to Finland but far ahead other countries, especially the US, where just 20% of people are satisfied.

Listen to the full episode of Britain is a Nation of... below

Discussing the issue on the latest episode of Yahoo UK’s podcast Britain Is a Nation Of..., doctor, author and medical journalist Dr Patricia McNair says she isn’t surprised.

“I’m surprised it’s not more,” she says. “I think we just don’t appreciate what we get possibly until we become ill and the fact that absolutely everything about it is free.”

But despite its popularity, she says something has to give as the NHS faces growing strain.

“The NHS is changing and it’s going to change dramatically - it can’t go on as it is, it can’t meet the expectations we have and what it’s done before.

“We have set the NHS up as this amazing thing that we are all really proud of and that can provide anything anyone needs and it just can’t.”


Taking more responsibility for our own health to educating children better and looking after the elderly within the community could be some ways of easing the burden on the system, says McNair, who also doesn’t rule out certain degree of privatisation.

“I think the real argument for privatisation doesn’t lie there but lies in charging people for some basic things so if you look at Guernsey they charge everyone £25 a time to see a GP and if they need medication they can claim that back off the £25.

“I’m not sure we should charge £25 but £5 to see your GP, is that the price of a pint of beer?

“I think people take it for granted and it may mean that people think a bit more - a lot of people go to their GP when they could get advice from a pharmacy or from reading things, so maybe there is an argument for a charge.”

This survey was made possible by YouGov’s panel of 6 million respondents. Join the trend and share your opinions with the world today.