Sajid Javid, the former Health Secretary of the UK has termed the present model of the National Health Service (NHS) “unsustainable” while also suggesting that patients should start paying for their General Practitioners (GPs) appointments, and accident & emergency department (A&E) visits.
In an opinion piece for the Times, Sajid Javid called for a “grown-up, hard-headed conversation” about restructuring the NHS while also stating that “too often the appreciation” for the health service has become a religious fervour and a barrier to reform. Downing Street also told the paper that UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is not “currently” considering the proposals on health service.
But, it is to mention that during his campaign for the Tory leadership, Rishi Sunak has introduced plans to issue a fine of £10 to patients who miss GP or hospital appointments. He, however, backtracked on his pledges following staunch criticism from the health leaders. This hinted towards the controversy clouding any possible reforms that could affect the principle of free NHS care when in need.
In his piece, former health secretary Sajid Javid said that the NHS’ only rationing mechanism, which is to make people wait, should be replaced by means-tested fees while “protecting those on low incomes”. Javid further wrote that “we should look, on a cross-party basis, at extending the contributory principle”. He elaborated that the conversation regarding fees “will not be easy” but it will help the health service ration its finite supply more effectively.