Charging to see a GP: Maureen Baker and Thomas Cawston

Charging to see the doctor would "strengthen health inequalities" said Maureen Baker, who chairs the Royal College of GPs.

She said all practises have to be open from 08:00 to 18:30, and many already offer longer opening hours.

But Thomas Cawston from the centre-right think tank Reform, who has authored a report on charging, said "people want to see their family doctor at a time that suits them".

And he suggested people should consider using a pharmacist, getting information online and self-medication.

The pair debated on the Daily Politics, after presenter Jo Coburn heard from correspondent Hugh Schofield in Paris, where he explained how a form of GP charging is already established in France.

The charging issue is due to be debated at the British Medical Association conference later this month..

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