A former NHS boss thinks hospital patients should be charged £8 a day - this is what Star readers have to say

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Hospital patients could be charged £8 a day, under plans from a former NHS boss in a bid to raise revenue for the health service.

The proposals made by Professor Stephen Smith come as a record high of £6.6million people are waiting for routine NHS treatment.

Prof Smith, who is the former chairman of the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, set his ideas out in a new book and said the money raised would help for expensive equipment.

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Some of his ideas are based on the German model in which patients are charged up to €10 a night, and have been met with fierce criticism from individuals including Dr John Puntis, the co-chair of the campaign group Keep Our NHS Public.

Dr Puntis claimed Prof Smith’s proposals amounted to ‘zombie policies’ and ‘hairbrained ideas’ which would bring about the end of the core principle of the NHS being completely funded by taxes that it has operated on since its inception in 1948.

Star readers have been asked to share their views on Prof Smith’s ideas.

Many readers suggested that tax payers already contribute towards the NHS, meaning that these plans would see them paying twice.

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Kathleen Hassanali said: “We have already paid our national insurance. Why should we pay again?”

Hayley Ross said: “Aren't patients already paying for NHS, it’s called NI (National Insurance)?”

Sandra Elizabeth Haith added: “I say no. We already pay national insurance contributions for our health care. If the government want to provide it for people who have never paid in they should reimburse the NHS. That should help.”

Amanda Widnall continued: “Working people are paying for the nhs in their NI, sadly lots of people want a service they have put nothing into. So much money is wasted. Why do we buy anything for the nhs from outside of the uk, why not manufacture drugs, equipment, here?

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“That in turn would create jobs, training. The nhs is fleeced daily by ridiculously over price stuff.”

Other readers said they thought the plans would make access to hospital treatment too expensive for working people and would hit patients hard at some of the most vulnerable moments of their lives.

Jean Briggs said: “Tax people when they're at one of the lowest ebbs of their lives. Cancer patients, coronary and intensive care patients? Someone has had a empathy bypass.”

Dawn Sunset added: “Lol he should be on the stage lol the only people who would be able to go to hospital is those on the dole cause tax payers couldn’t afford it.”

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Some people said they thought the solution was to restructure the NHS, while others said they wanted to reduce the salaries of the highest paid in the service.

Mabel Sampson said: “The NHS doesn’t need more money. It needs complete restructuring and getting rid of middle management who are on more than nurses. Also need to get rid of wasteful contracts that cost well over the odds just to grease some CEO palms.”

James Wharton added: “NHS needs streamlining. There is money there if they get rid of some manager's roles.”

Neil Caborn said: “The NHS doesn’t need anymore money, it’s funded fine. It’s just completely mismanaged. You can throw as much money at it as you like, it’ll make no difference.”

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