Charging for NHS services is at the centre of the latest internal row in the Conservative Party, after one of its MEPs said people should pay to make a GP appointment.
The Conservative Party’s European Parliament spokesman on foreign affairs, Charles Tannock, said charging working people £10 to see their doctor, and fining them if they missed the appointment, should be a supplementary way of funding the health service.
Dr Tannock, who was a consultant psychiatrist before he was elected, said freezing doctors’ pay was also an option.
Speaking to Channel 4 news, he said: “I would be totally in favour of small co-payments, small payments being made if you turn up to things and perhaps small fines being levied if you do not.”
Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley dismissed the idea, saying that although paying for dentistry was commonly accepted, the “great majority” of NHS services should be “based on our need, not our ability to pay”.
He said Dr Tannock’s proposal would cost more to run than would be gained through fees and fines.
In April, another Tory MEP, Daniel Hannan, called the NHS a “60 year mistake” and said he “wouldn’t wish it on anyone” on US television.