How can it be “ethical” to charge patients?

Access to our service will, unlike the NHS, be limited by ability to pay. However, NHS GP is not without barriers, especially now, as it can be limited by the ability to pick up the phone or internet at the correct time, or to prioritise one’s own needs appropriately.

Pillars of medical ethics

We are aware of the risks of describing ourselves as “ethical”. It is common to consider questions of medical ethics under four “pillars”: autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence and justice.


We believe it is for society rather than individual GPs to ensure justice of access to general practice, whether that be by ensuring that all patients have the means to pay for care, or whether that be by providing excellent NHS general practice.

A growing private GP sector will support just access to primary care by providing additional capacity (we will increase my working commitment significantly, for example), and perhaps also by helping to define expectations of NHS GP by providing a contrast.


What possibly sets us apart is our commitment to non-maleficence (“first do no harm“), perhaps not always a priority for private healthcare providers, for whom there can be a temptation to sell tests and treatments without certainty that they will not cause undue anxiety, or that any condition so found definitely merits the side effects and risks of treatment.

Safety and value for money

So yes, we have to charge our patients. But we will do our utmost to ensure that we do not charge patients for appointments, tests or treatments that are not completely necessary. That way, our patients get value for money whilst receiving medical care as safe and high quality as possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner