Opposition to plans to charge for GP appointments

Plans to charge £10 for a GP appointment have been met with opposition from the UK’s largest nursing union, which has voted firmly against them.
Nursing bosses have taken this as confirmation that people still believe that the NHS should be free.  The vote was taken at the annual conference of members of the Royal College of Nursing in Liverpool.
The plans to charge for NHS bookings have been suggested partly to raise extra funding for the NHS and to ensure that people are using the NHS’s resources properly.  One issue that the NHS faces at the moment is the number of appointments that are booked and then not used by the patient.  Estimates suggest that this costs the NHS around £160 million each year.
However, 91 per cent of the nursing conference’s attendees voted against these plans.  Those who spoke out against the plans have raised concerns that people might be put off going to see their GP with genuine health problems if they feel that they cannot afford their appointment, and they have reminded others that the NHS was created to provide healthcare that was free at the point of delivery.
There are now calls for politicians to confirm which side of this issue they are on as the General Election will be taking place next year.  A spokesperson from the Department of Health has confirmed that charging for GP appointments is not on the official agenda and they will be keeping the NHS free to use.