Means test in NHS

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We are suffering a period where all sorts of ­people, from Alex Salmond downward and upward, are muttering ­despairing thoughts about our NHS and how it should be financed. There seems to be ­despair all around.

It does appear that the finance people actually charged with making it work are having time off.

Should the service be free to everyone? That is a noble aim, but is not necessarily the correct answer.

However, I am sure that people at the upper end of the income span will not protest if they are actually charged a fee for medical care and the prescriptions which go with it.

After all, they willingly pay for dental work which is often quite expensive – many people have an insurance deal which pays for all treatment costs (including ­dental).

Could we find some straightforward means of 
charging people who can afford the excellent care made available to them?

One suggestion is that fees should be calculated for each NHS treatment and passed to the income tax people.

They would be able to assess how much, if anything, the patient should pay and this would be included in the next income tax statement.

This would be rather fairer than the present system whereby no-one is charged for their treatment.

NHS finances would then be greatly enhanced in a fair manner, with wealthier people making a direct contribution.

J R Hall

Colinton Grove

Edinburgh