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News - 26 July 2013

Half of GPs favour appointment fee

In a poll of 440 GPs by the health magazine Pulse, 51% said they would support imposing a small fee to visit a GP, compared with 36% who would not. Last year a similar poll found only a third of GPs would support the move, suggesting a growing number are willing to consider drastic solutions to reduce their workload.

Demand for routine appointments is likely to double in the next two decades, according to a report published last year by the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions.

The majority of GPs who called for charging specified an amount between £5 and £25 per appointment, Pulse said.

Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the General Practitioners Committee which represents GPs in Britain, said the NHS should be free at point of delivery.

"Charging patients would have adverse effects and would fundamentally be to the detriment of GP-patient relationships. We need to preserve trust between patients and their GPs," he said.

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