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Nurses reject call for GPs to charge patients

Overwhelming majority vote against fees

Jo Carlowe

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Nurses have this week rejected a call for GPs to charge patients for appointments.

The issue was debated at the Royal College of Nursing’s Congress, held in Liverpool, with 91% of delegates voting against a resolution that called for a fixed fee to be charged for GP appointments. 

The resolution was proposed by Andy McGovern of the RCN’s Inner London branch but nurses spoke passionately against the motion expressing their concerns that vulnerable people would be deterred from seeking medical help. 

The failure of the resolution reaffirms the RCN’s existing position that the NHS should be free at the point of delivery, based on clinical need.

Commenting, Chief Executive and General Secretary, Dr Peter Carter said:

“Charging patients for GP visits is a controversial issue – one that goes to the heart of what the NHS is and should be. Today, nurses and health care assistants have reaffirmed their passionate belief that the NHS should be free at the point of delivery.

“The future funding of the NHS is shrouded in uncertainty and we need clear direction from our politicians about the way ahead so that clinicians and commissioners can plan for the future.

“As the General Election approaches, the public need to know where the parties stand on this vital issue.

“Nurses are passionate about protecting the health service and its founding principles but they know that it faces challenges, that its finances are finite and so they will continue to address the difficult questions.”

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