Speaking to Radio Sheffield’s Rony Robinson about NHS charging proposals

The right wing think tank Reform have made the news today after publishing a report (which you can read here) proposing, amongst other things, a £10 per month mandatory “membership fee” for use of the NHS.

The ideas were trailed on the Conservative Home website last night.

I am nervous about proposals that come from an organisation which receives a significant proportion of its funding from private companies whose core business includes government and public services contracts (see here for a list). However, with that caveat, it is not unreasonable to raise questions about how we secure adequate NHS funding in the future. Indeed those questions are more urgent for those of us who want to see the Health Service survive and improve.

Sadly, the ideas they have brought forward seem to me to be to be a bit like the thin end of the wedge: if you can introduce charges in this way, why not additional charges for people with greater needs? A hospital overnight stay charge as they propose, for example, would put a clear conflict between need and ability to pay. Moreover, they are inequitable proposals: those who would be hardest hit would be those who could least afford it. Finally, they just seem quite badly thought through: how much money would the fees raise, and who would have to pay? It’s not clear.

I spoke to BBC Radio Sheffield’s Rony Robinson about the report today, and you can hear what I had to say via iPlayer by clicking here any time over the next seven days.


Categories: Activism, Councillor, Labour PartyBookmark

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