Patients could be charged £8.50 to call an out-of-hours doctor to their home under controversial plans outlined today. The sick could also be forced to pay for their hospital meals or increased charges to watch television on NHS wards.
The proposals are being floated as a way of tackling the ‘unprecedented financial dilemma’ faced by the Health Service. Controversial: Patients could be charged £8.50 to call an out-of-hours doctor to their home under plans outlined today. But campaigners expressed outrage at the ‘frank discussion’ document, saying it undermined the founding principle of the NHS that care must be free at the point of use. They also warned that seriously ill patients could be discouraged from seeking treatment if they feared being unable to afford the fees.
The NHS Confederation, which represents all Health Service trusts, devised the ideas as ways of generating extra funds.