The Tory leader suggested charging for NHS services would stop them being “abused”, and accused people of “wasting GPs’ time”. He suggested a charge of £50 for calling an ambulance if the patient turns out not to be seriously ill.
Boris Johnson’s career as a journalist continued to haunt him today as columns he wrote demanding NHS charges resurfaced.
The Prime Minister penned a 1995 article saying some patients should have to stump up for accessing certain services.
And in a 2002 column for the Telegraph, he suggested “imposing a 25 per cent upfront charge – which is refundable later – on everyone who calls to see the doctor.”
“If NHS services continue to be free in this way, they will continue to be abused, like any free service,” he wrote in the Spectator Magazine in 1995, unearthed today by Business Insider.
“If people have to pay for them, they will value them more.”
Campaigners who say “the future the NHS should be for those who are genuinely sick, and for the elderly,” are “bang on the nail”, he added.
The PM recalled dialling 999 for one of his kids, who turned out not to be seriously ill.
“Why should I not be charged, say, £50 for that inglorious episode, a fraction of its real cost?” he wrote.
It “seems reasonable that the middle classes should be required to stump up for non-essential services they can well afford”, he claimed.
Mr Johnson blamed “cowardice” by the then Tory Government for the failure to introduce charges.
He added: “I will not be charged for the ambulance because politicians dare not take away from the middle classes the benefits they have accrued under the welfare state.”
The 2002 column, resurfaced by Red Roar today, urged then-Prime Minister Tony Blair to consider making more hospitals “independently funded”.