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'Send cost of care statement' to NHS patients, says Tory MP


NHS patients should be presented with an annual statement of what they have cost the taxpayer in a bid to stop people wasting the time of GPs and accident and emergency units, a Conservative MP said.

Jesse Norman, MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, has co-authored a think-tank report, which concluded that the cash-strapped health service could save hundreds of millions of pounds if individuals were helped to “appreciate the value” of the universal provision.

Techniques which had helped energy firms encourage reduced household consumption – such as showing the average and lowest bills in a neighbourhood – could be successfully copied in the NHS, the Centre for Policy Studies concluded in its report, titled How Much Do We Use the NHS.

Hereford and South Herefordshire

Jesse Norman

Research had found there were around 51 million “unnecessary” GP visits a year – about conditions that would quickly clear on their own for example – and that put the cost of unwarranted trips to surgeries and A&E at £300m a year, said the right-wing think-tank. Adding outpatient appointments would take it to £1bn.

NHS chiefs have warned that the service needs another £8bn funding a year even if it succeeds in shaving another £22bn from annual costs over five years.

Employing “nudge” techniques increasingly being experimented with by the government, the statements would set out the number and cost of visits made in a year – and the potential savings if a more suitable course of action had been taken.

Attention would be required, the report conceded, to ensure no-one genuinely in need of attention was made to feel they were a “burden”.





Readers' comments (4)

  • How much will sending the annual statement cost the taxpayers? Not saying that we don't need to educate people to use services more efficiently - but come on lets be a bit more creative and not spend NHS funding on more bureaucracy!

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  • I think we all know why patients waste the service of A&E, it is because it is virtually impossible to obtain an appointment at most GP surgeries on the day an illness or injury occurs. Some may even have to wait two or three days! Until the GP services are sorted and the number of patients taken on at each surgery is seriously curtailed the situation will not improve. As for those with chronic health problems who have to use the GP services on a frequent basis, how valued they will be made to feel when presented with a statement informing them how expensive it is to care for them. Why don't we just hand them a gun to put to their head!!

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  • I take an expensive drug to manage a chronic condition. This keeps me from developing a malignant disorder and also means I keep working and paying my taxes and caring for my family. I'm not sure how helpful it would be to send an annual bill?

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  • I doubt it will reduce the number of "unnecessary" visits to GPs and A&Es. The comparison to people reducing their own outgoings on power bills is apples and oranges. Patients do not see the money spent on them as being wasted, especially as it doesn't come out of their own pockets (not directly anyway).

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