The first moves to map out a radical right-wing agenda for healthcare beyond the Conservative election defeat emerged this week as the Social Market Foundation condemned the principle of a free NHS as an 'anachronism'.

In a book endorsed by the thinktank, author John Willman calls for a system of direct charges at the point of use, which he claims would encourage people to take responsibility for their own health, raise standards and limit demand.

He advocates supplementing direct taxes and increasing the NHS budget by 10 per cent through charges to patients, including a£10 fee to see a doctor and a£25 fee for day surgery.

Families could cap their spending by purchasing a 'season ticket'.

A Better State of Health: a prescription for the NHS. Profile Books,£8.99.