Doctor slams calls for wealthy to pay health tax in GMB row

NHS doctor hits out at two-tier system

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Richard Madeley and Susanna Reid welcomed GP Dr Anita Raja and A&E doctor Dr Emeka Okorocha onto Good Morning Britain. They debated the idea of introducing a two-tier system for NHS patients whereby the wealthy pay for treatment while those who can’t afford to, will continue to receive free treatment. 

Emeka furiously hit out at the suggestion claiming it was unfair to “punish people for earning more”.

He said: “We know the NHS needs work, we know the NHS needs funding.

“But as an emergency doctor I just couldn’t be in a position where I was treating patients slightly differently based on what they were earning.

“You have to look at health economics, you’re under pressure from management to meet a number of quotes and then it comes to investigations.”

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“In A&E we know that some investigations cost more than others,” he continued. 

“Am I going to potentially order you an MRI scan because I know you can afford it or because I know you can’t am I going to think you don’t need an MRI maybe we can get you an ultrasound the next week?”

Susanna interjected: “You’re talking about specifically paying per treatment.

“What Dr Raja is talking about is those earning a bit more, pay a little more into a tax so you wouldn’t know when you’re treating them whether they pay more or not.”

The A&E doctor pointed out those who are wealthier already pay more tax than those who earn less. 

“You’re almost punishing people who earn more which is not going to incentivise people to even want to say how much they’re earning because they know they’re going to be punished for it under the care of the NHS,” Emeka replied. 

Richard questioned whether the NHS requires “structural financial reform”.

Emeka agreed: “Every year we go through the same process where we talk about winter pressures, waiting times, ambulances being called out and how [GPs] taking longer to see patients and patients are suffering with outpatient appointments.”

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“Where we suffer is A&E,” he said. “If you can’t get a hip replacement, an outpatient appointment, an appointment with your GP, what are you going to do? You’re going to go through the 24-hour system where you know you’re going to be seen.”

However, Anita disagreed with Emeka and argued the NHS could learn from different health systems around the world. 

She argued: “If you look at models from all around the world, especially Germany it’s a completely different model. 

“There should be a completely different model towards the healthcare system, not just the NI contributions.”

Anita supported a special health tax which would solely pay for the NHS.

“We now know the NHS needs more money, we are in a £1billion deficit,” she said.

“We have established that the Government is not happy to fund it or not able to fund it any longer because it’s got other priorities.” 

Good Morning Britain airs on ITV on weekdays at 6am.

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