Downing Street Has 'No Plans' To Start Charging People To See Their GP

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a visit to Berrywood Hospital in Northampton this morning.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a visit to Berrywood Hospital in Northampton this morning.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a visit to Berrywood Hospital in Northampton this morning.

Ministers have “no plans” to start charging people to see their GP, Downing street has insisted.

The controversial idea was floated by former health secretary Sajid Javid, who also said patients should have to pay to visit A&E departments.

In an article for The Times, Javid - who is standing down at the next election - said the current NHS funding model was “unsustainable”.

He said: “We should look, on a cross-party basis, at extending the contributory principle.

“This conversation will not be easy, but it can help the NHS ration its finite supply more effectively.”

But asked about the proposal this morning, the prime minister’s official spokesperson said the government was focused on its plan to clear the NHS backlogs.

“We don’t think it’s right to see these sorts of changes,” he said.

“Introducing the policy would have complexities and it would take some time to introduce.”

The spokesperson added: “There are no plans to do this.

“We are very focused on cutting the backlog rather than any other new policy.”

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS confederation, said Javid was out of step with public opinion.

He said: “The first thing I’d say is although the public is worried about the health service, it has lost confidence, there’s absolutely no sign that it’s less up in its support for the founding principles of the health service.

“So I think that Sajid Javid is not speaking to the public in this regard, because the public still adheres very strongly to those principles.”

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