Paying for the privilege: a GP practice in Bournemouth is charging private patients up to £145 for faster and longer appointments [Image: Anthony Devlin/PA].

This is what happens when a Conservative government decides to shirk its responsibility to provide an adequate publicly-funded health service.

Because the Tories have deprived the NHS of the resources it needs to handle all cases properly and in good time, profiteers have started to split off and charge for services, meaning fewer facilities for the tax-funded operation.

If these breakaway firms are successful, more will follow until the Tories’ ambition – the privatisation-by-stealth of the National Health Service – is achieved.

If any Conservative voters are reading: Is this really what you wanted? And can you really afford £80 per appointment with your doctor?

Family doctors in Bournemouth have set up the first private GP service at which people who pay up to £145 a time will be seen faster and get longer appointments than their NHS patients.

The creation of the clinic has prompted fears that other GPs will follow suit and that NHS patients will become “second-class citizens” as general practice increasingly becomes a two-tier health service.

The three doctors running the Dorset Private GP service are offering “the unhurried, thorough, personal care we believe is best for patients” – at a price. Patients pay £40 for a 10-minute phone consultation, £80 for a 20-minute face-to-face appointment and £145 for 40 minutes with a GP.

Source: Fears of ‘two-tier NHS’ as GPs allow fee-paying patients to jump the queue | Society | The Guardian

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