Do you have private insurance? GPs may ask you this, for NHS cost cutting

December 11th, 2019

In a bid to cut down costs, the NHS had instructed GPs to instruct their patients about choosing private health insurance. This step was taken to balance the books as stated by the NHS chief. NHS has been renowned as the oldest and largest single-payer health care system in the world. Funded through the general taxation system, the National Health System is open for all and so, the move of asking patients to choose private health insurance has been criticised by many.

A good number of doctors do not agree to this and have raised their voice in opposition. They say this may give rise to health inequalities and patients would feel guilty on using the NHS services. Leading GPs like Dr. Andrew Green questioned this practice and stated that “all patients have a right to NHS care and should not be made to feel guilty about using it”.

The issue came in to the limelight as NHS Mid Essex CCG and NHS Basildon and Brentwood CCG asked GPs to question patients about their private health insurance but suggested not to block their ability to choose any of the services. Cost cutting is the only intension behind this practice. According to reports there has been a 6% increase in the number of referrals to private healthcare in the first half of 2016 when compared to the same period last year.

Many GPs feel that by doing this the NHS is going away from its commitment of being a public healthcare system which is open for all. One of the GPs was quoted as saying “What’s next? ‘If you’ve got private insurance then you are automatically barred from using NHS facilities?’ I can quite see this coming.”

Amidst this confusion and debates, NHS England has released its statement. According to it, “Everybody is entitled to NHS care, and whether they do or don’t have private insurance is completely irrelevant.” It ordered GPs to avoid suggesting their patients about choosing private health insurance. To end the debate, it boldly stated that “The great strength of the NHS is that we all pay in and it’s there for all of us when we need it; nothing should get in the way of that important principle.”

If your GP asks about your health insurance then don’t worry, you can still use the NHS services the way you did it in the past. Stay healthy and save on medical treatments!

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