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Free Health Care in the UK ‘A Thing of the Past’?

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is well known for providing free care to all its citizens. However, will £0 out-of-pocket payments be a thing of the past? Maybe so according to a recent survey of UK Members of Parliament (MPs). Pharmafile reports:

In response to the question “if the challenges facing the NHS are not addressed, then it may not remain free at the point of need”, 48% of respondents either strongly agreed or agreed.

It is a politically touchy subject: last May in response to an online campaign, the government felt the need to reaffirm that NHS treatment “will remain free at the point of delivery and available according to clinical need”.

The NHS Confederation says a ‘cross-section’ of 100 MPs was interviewed by Dods, and 81% of them believe the NHS in their constituency needs to change to meet the needs of patients in the future.

Of course, health care in the UK is not free; taxpayers finance these expenses. However, will increasing user fees help reduce moral hazard and decrease unnecessary use of medical services? Or will increasing user fees decrease access for poor patients who need care? Where you stand on the political spectrum likely will determine your answer.

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