Doctors vote no to appointment charges

Doctors have voted against patients being charged for consultations but called for other measures to ease workloads.

During a recent annual conference, members of the British Medical Association (BMA) voted against charging patients for appointments but raised concerns over the workload for GPs, with some seeing 60 patients per day.

While some health professionals suggested patient charges could be a solution to the issue of a rising demand for appointments, doctors attending the BMA conference voted against imposing fees, fearing it would compromise the relationship between doctors and patients.

Discussions during the conference also raised concerns about doctors’ workloads, with the BMA GP leader Dr Chaand Nagpaul describing general practice as “conveyor belt medicine”. He warned that doctors faced “an unmanageable, exhausting and unsustainable workload that puts safety and quality at risk” and highlighted the shrinking budgets for GPs despite rising demand.

In response to the points raised by the BMA, a Department of Health spokeswoman said they “recognise the vital job GPs do” and were working to ease the pressure on doctors by reducing the bureaucracy and recruiting more trainees to boost GP numbers.