Patients should not be charged a £10 fee to see their GP, says the Green Party, which argues that healthcare is not a commodity to be bought or sold and should be free at the point of need, and funded through taxation.
Andy McGovern, a hospital nurse in east London, has put forward a motion to the Royal College of Nursing today (1) calling on the nursing union to support a fixed fee, arguing that this will deter patients from needless visits or not keeping appointments. McGovern joins a growing number of voices who say that the NHS' cash crisis means desperate measures – such as £10 fees – must be considered.
The Green Party opposes the introduction of fees and believes the health services' founding principle of free care at the point of use must be resolutely defended. The Green Party opposes the Coalition government's ongoing privatisation of our NHS and is committed to reversing public sector sell-offs where possible. The Green Party has outlined how the Coalition is trying to covertly privatise the NHS in Saving the NHS for the Common Good, a video which has gone viral on YouTube (1).
Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, said:
"Charging for GP appointments could have a devastating impact on many vulnerable and disadvantaged people. A £10 charge will deter some people from going to the GP and cost the NHS more in the long run."
The Green Party aims to develop health services which place as much emphasis on illness prevention, health promotion and the development of individual and community self-reliance as on the treatment and cure of disease. Through transforming our economy so that it works for the common good the Green Party can deliver a healthier, happier society.
"The NHS should be kept in public hands, not sold off in bits to the private sector. Only through proper levels of funding – including the protection of the pay, conditions and status of healthcare professionals will the NHS get up off the sickbed."