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To think if the Scandinavians charge to see a GP maybe we should too?

(222 Posts)
Pickleup Thu 28-Feb-19 10:13:38

We’ve just spent twelve days in a Scandinavian country, during which time my DC and I fell ill and we had to get medical help.

We went to the local state-run health centre, took a ticket from a machine (like a deli counter) and waited our turn for an emergency appointment (Ie one where you haven’t booked). They run these emergency sessions 7 days a week!

We saw lovely GPs in an impeccably clean surgery. One of them said I needed a blood test and I was expecting to have to come back another day but she took us over the hall and did it herself with a thumb prick - then they tested the blood in their own lab there and then and told me I was good to go. The whole thing took maybe seven minutes.

On your way out you pay at a machine - it was just under £10 to see the doctor, and £5 for the blood test. Children under 16 are totally free.
No charge for doctors certificates.

We had to make a follow up appointment on our way out and there was reasonable availability - we chose something three days later.

Compare to the our GP home in the UK, there is currently a ten day wait for ANY appointment with a GP. If you want a specific GP it is 14 days. There are no emergency appointments at all now. Blood tests - you are talking a week wait for results, minimum.

Isn’t it time we started levying a small charge for the vast majority of adults who could pay?

Birdsgottafly Thu 28-Feb-19 10:20:00

No, our NHS is free at the point of contact and we should just fund it adequately.

There are daily appointments at my GP and some blood tests are three days.

So the reason why some GPS aren't like that, needs questioning.

Anyone who pays would become resentful of those that don't and there is enough demonisation of the poor amd disabled. That's before we get to non UK nationals.

teyem Thu 28-Feb-19 10:21:43

I think you could end up with some unintended consequences with this policy.

There was a young girl who died recently trying to eek out her ventolin because the prescription was prohibitive. As she was dying of an asthma attack she was still reluctant to use her last dose.

How could you be sure that the "small fee" would not make it less likely that people would seek out help when they needed it. How could you be sure it wouldn't cause a false economy with people needing more costly treatment in hospital for issues that could be easily treated at a go surgery?

Hollowvictory Thu 28-Feb-19 10:22:47

I can get an appointment at my gp same day via the online booking system bollocks is there a 10 day waiting list everywhere.
Your go surgery sounds a bit rubbish. Doubtless there are rubbish ones in Scandinavia as well.

Tomtontom Thu 28-Feb-19 10:22:47

No, it's regressive taxation. Even if you exempt people on the lowest incomes, there will still be people that can't afford to pay and their health will suffer as a result.

Smarties11 Thu 28-Feb-19 10:22:52

My GP surgery also has notes up how many appointments are not cancelled, just wasted -it's astonishing! Even at the gym there is three strikes system and you cannot book appointments for x days, should use the same at the GP surgeries (there's always walk in places to go but not pre-booked appts should be allowed).

EstrellaDamn Thu 28-Feb-19 10:23:15

We already levy a charge on those who can pay - through taxation.

I'll never agree with paying at the point of need - that's only going to put the most vulnerable in an even more difficult situation.

GregoryPeckingDuck Thu 28-Feb-19 10:23:26

This is how it was where I grew up. It made sure that healthcare was accessible. There is no point in free at point of access healthcare if it is too expensive to run at levels and standards that meet demand. The NHS is literally killing people because the British are so emotionally attached to it being free at the point of access that they fail to realise that that makes it less accessible.

teyem Thu 28-Feb-19 10:25:15

What if there is a serious contagious outbreak that isn't quickly contained because the point of origin begins in a poor community that has become accustomed to only seeking out medical help at the last moment when health care becomes more important than eating?

<Whispers- zombie apocalypse>

WhatTheNightBrings Thu 28-Feb-19 10:25:24

Ah, the niavety of someone lucky enough to only need to see a doctor when they 'fall ill'.

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Thu 28-Feb-19 10:25:28

No. The NHS needs a major overhaul, and cash injection. There are inefficient practises/protocols within it, and waste (not keeping track of crutches/other equipments and consequent waste) etc, but if necessary add it to taxes. Don't penalise the poor any more than is increasingly being done.

Sparklesocks Thu 28-Feb-19 10:26:19

I disagree, I think it should be free at point of use.
£10 might not seem like much but if you’re on the breadline that might be your food bill, or your electric. I think it would mean poor people would de-prioritise their health because they need to spend that cash on other things, and would just end up getting sicker (which may cost the NHS more down the line).
And if you did put a threshold in for who should and shouldn’t pay, that might cause resentment (there’s already a sense of this with benefit claimants).
I definitely agree the NHS needs saving, but I don’t believe this is the way.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Thu 28-Feb-19 10:27:52

I think we just need more GPs. I don't actually believe the reason we have to wait is that there are loads of people in there who don't really need to see a doctor but are going for fun because it's free.
I am sure there ARE many people visiting for things they could treat via a pharmacist, but there is no guarantee those people are the ones who would be put off by a charge.

The only benefit is that it would put more money into the system, but there are other ways of doing that without deterring people from seeking help when they might actually need it.

AnneLovesGilbert Thu 28-Feb-19 10:28:59

We can get phone consultations within a couple of hours. Emergency surgeries run 5 days a week, yes it might take longer to see a specific GP but many of them are part time so that’s understandable. Test results take a few days, sometimes less than a day.

No system is perfect and I pay for free at the point of use when I need it through my taxes every month.

So no thanks.

MistressDeeCee Thu 28-Feb-19 10:29:17

So basically because you can afford it, you're fine with those who can't afford it suffering and worrying because they've not got £10 to visit GP.

This kind of thinking just seems so prevalent in UK these days. Wanting poorer people to suffer ever more and thinking up different ways in which this can happen. Awful.

& No, we shouldn't pay. National Insurance isnt there as pocket money for the Tories you know.

LittleSwede Thu 28-Feb-19 10:29:24

I thought children went free? I only know about Swedish health care though.

I paid £25 for a bottle of prescription cough medicine for DD last year in Sweden (not subsidised like our prescriptions) but the visit to GP was free. I paid about £20 in out if hours for myself. A and E would have been £40.

JockTamsonsBairns Thu 28-Feb-19 10:29:44

My ex-h was so financially abusive, there would be no chance in hell I'd be able to access healthcare if I'd needed to pay £10 to see a gp. I already couldn't afford to pay for my prescriptions as it was, even although our "household" income was relatively healthy. How would you get round a situation like that?

OunceOfFlounce Thu 28-Feb-19 10:30:54

A lot of European countries with similar fees actually put more taxation into their healthcare systems than we do. I don't think fees are a good idea at all, for all the reasons pps are saying. I do think we just need to fund the nhs properly and stop privatising by the back door.

SheldonSaysSo Thu 28-Feb-19 10:31:31

The trouble is what about people with ongoing health conditions? Asthma? Mental health problems? Diabetes? A whole host of problems can lead to people regularly seeing the GP. Thats without any other illness on top and personally it would put me off attending as often as I need to.

Ginkgo Thu 28-Feb-19 10:31:47

I have a chronic illness and see the GP a lot. These days I could just about afford it, but I remember being too poor to afford my prescription and having to choose between my medication and food. Its an awful awful feeling that no one should ever have.

ginandtonicformeplease Thu 28-Feb-19 10:31:52

DH would be absolutely fine with paying to see the GP - in all the years I've known him he's been once.

As I have a long-term health condition, it would cost me a fortune. The older you get the more often you need to see the dr as well - do we exempt pensioners from the charges or say tough luck?

I'd be all for putting a deposit down on an appointment and if you don't turn up you lose the deposit.

howdoyoukeepawaveuponthesand Thu 28-Feb-19 10:33:47

If our governments raised tax the NHS could be better and still free.

If you are hardly ever ill and can afford it, go private.

soulrider Thu 28-Feb-19 10:34:30

Yabu to take your experience in one place and extrapolate it to all of Scandinavia.

Sakura7 Thu 28-Feb-19 10:36:14

That sounds like a great system OP.

In Ireland we have to pay for GP visits, with the exception of people on benefits, the elderly, and children under 6. Most GPs work in private practice and are not paid by the state. It is much more expensive here though at €50-€60 for a visit and an additional €20-€30 for bloods. Access to healthcare is good if you can pay for it, but the free public hospitals are underfunded and have huge waiting lists for important tests.

I think neither our system or the NHS is working, we could learn a lot from our neighbours in Europe. I don't think there's anything wrong with asking people who can afford it to pay a small amount (not Irish prices!) and put that money towards funding the health service.

I had a really good experience of the Portuguese system a few years ago - a country with less money than us but a high quality, affordable health service.

IceBearRocks Thu 28-Feb-19 10:36:25

Jeez.....We'd be skint in our house !;

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