Susan Acott has said the NHS should consider charging patients

Should the NHS consider charging its patients?

The new permanent chief executive of east Kent hospitals has in the past said that the NHS should consider charging its patients.

Susan Acott told a radio programme that financial pressures on healthcare meant it was something hospitals needed to think about.

Ms Acott replaced Matthew Kershaw as interim chief executive of the hospitals trust in the autumn and was made permanent head in March.

She had come to east Kent from the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust in north Kent where she was chief executive.

While there she told the BBC’s World at One programme that charging patients should be considered against a backdrop of a £2.5 billion NHS deficit.

Susan Acott, new hospitals trust head

Ms Acott said: “The financial position is increasingly pressurised and probably much more challenging than I’ve experienced in my entire career.

“I think it’s something modern countries need to consider and, because we have our cherished NHS, I don’t think that should prevent sensible and intelligent discussions around whether free at the point of use is always the right thing to do.

“If you look at examples like dentistry and ophthalmology we often contribute. So I certainly think it’s a question that needs to be asked.”

This week the University of Kent will host a talk on the future of general practice in the UK by Dr Arvind Madan, the director of primary care and deputy national medical director for NHS England. He has been a GP for 20 years and explores the potential for technology to improve healthcare.

His talk will be entitled General Practice Forward View and a Vision of the Future of Primary Care.

It takes place at the University of Kent’s Grimond Building at the Canterbury campus from 6.30pm to 7.30pm on Wednesday, April 18.

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