Patients could have to pay for out-of-hours appointments with their GP, it has been reported.

Doctors could use their own time during evenings and weekends to treat and charge patients in a way that does not conflict with their NHS contractual arrangements.

Proposals show patients could also have the option of buying procedures such as vasectomies or non-cancerous mole removal at their local GP practice.

The current NHS rules stop GPs from charging their own patients for care.

Dr Prit Buttar, leader of Oxfordshire’s Local Medical Committee (LMC), said: “We have to look at alternative ways of increasing funding and look at models which will allow practices to operate within the rules.

“They will offer practice services, for example, if someone wants a minor operation but can only do this in an evening, then they can do this by charging a small fee.

“It will allow GPs to value their own time more and puts pressure on the Government. The Government is a monopoly customer, they can dictate how much they are willing to pay.”

Last year, LMCs called on the British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee (GPC) to hold a ballot among GPs for mass resignations from the NHS, unless the Government came up with more funding.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA GPC chairman, said: “All GP practices are contracted to provide free care to every patient irrespective of their financial ability to pay. This is a key cornerstone of the NHS which the vast majority of doctors support.

“This proposal, which is not fully developed, appears to seek to provide services outside of what GPs would usually provide to their patients as part of their NHS care.

“Irrespective of this scheme and its aims, the immediate priority is for the Government to address the incredible pressure on GP services, which is facing a severe shortage of several thousand doctors and has left 300 GP practices facing closure.”

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