Nurses voted unanimously against introducing charges for patients visiting their GP, during the third morning of the RCN Congress in Liverpool.
Ninety one per cent voted against the resolution, ‘This meeting of RCN Congress believes that a fixed fee should be charged for GP appointments', which was proposed by Andy McGovern of the RCN's Inner London branch to stimulate a debate about the future funding of the NHS.
In response to the resolution, nurses voiced opinions driven by the need for patients' clinical needs come first and concern that the best NHS care remains freely available to those who need it. This follows the pattern of debates and votes at this year's Congress.
The failure of the resolution reaffirms the founding principles of the NHS, referenced earlier in the conference by key speakers Robert Francis and Roy Lilley.
'The future funding of the NHS is shrouded in uncertainty and we need clear direction from our politicians about the way ahead so that clinicians and commissioners can plan for the future,' said Peter Carter, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN.
'Nurses are passionate about protecting the health service and its founding principles but they know that it faces challenges, that its finances are finite and so they will continue to address the difficult questions.'