Delegates to Bridgwater Trades Union Council, many of whom are NHS employees, are angry at yet another attempt to undermine the NHS by charging for services. Tory MP, Christopher Chope, has introduced the NHS Co-funding and Co-payment Bill which proposes charges for some NHS procedures, possibly including GP appointments. The Bill will be debated in Parliament in October 2018.
Trades Union Council Secretary Dave Chapple said : “The NHS was created in 1948 so that healthcare would be available to all, regardless of wealth & income, and free at the point of delivery. This principle was undermined in 1953, when charges for prescriptions and spectacles were introduced. Chope’s Bill, if successful, could open the floodgates to further charging.
The excuse given is that too many people visit their GPS for frivolous reasons and a charge would deter them! Even if this were true, and there is little evidence, the chief effect of such a charge would be to deter those on low incomes. Some of these people might have serious ailments, which would get worse, costing the NHS more in the long run!
Funding Crisis in NHS
Mr Chapple continued “The NHS is in crisis because of lack of funding. The answer to this is more funding through taxation, not by penalising those who can least afford to pay. This means collecting from those with high incomes who find various “legal” ways to dodge tax payments!”
A petition is being organised by Bridgwater Labour Party. Branch Chair Glen Burrows said “Members of Parliament must oppose this Bill when it returns to the House in October. Write to your MP. Sign and help collect signatures for the petition. This year is the 70th birthday of the NHS – let’s make sure it’s still around in another 70 years. Fight the Tory government attempts to create an NHS which only the wealthy can afford.”
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