A major donor to the Vote Leave campaign has suggested Britain moves to an insurance-based health care system – in the latest betrayal of the Brexiteers’ infamous pledge to fund the NHS.

Millionaire pub baron Tim Martin suggested the NHS is a “sacred cow” that needs to be slain in an appearance on last night’s BBC Question Time.

He said the the NHS should be treated like a “car firm” or an “agricultural economy” and “compared to other firms or other economies around the world.”


The die hard Brexiteer then went on to single out France, Germany and Australia as countries with “better systems” that Britain should adopt.

None of those three countries offer health care free at the point of use. Patients have to pay up front for a simple visit to the GP before being reimbursed for some or all of the cost – but that wouldn’t bother an ordinary working millionaire like Martin.

This is from a man who donated £427,600 to the Vote Leave campaign – more than enough to pay for their bus which promised to “fund our NHS” after Brexit.

But if we are going to run the NHS like a business, we won’t take any tips from Martin, who’s pub chain fell in value by £18 million as a result of the referendum.

Look at the time, it’s almost happy hour at A&E…

  1. This is incorrect. Australia has a ‘bulk-billing’ system where the majority of GPs do not charge patients up front but bulk-bill the government under their Medicare universal health care.
    People have a choice to use doctors as a private patient and can then recoup about 80% of the cost back later but the vast majority of Australians visit bulk-billing doctors or surgeries which are numerous with almost one on every corner.
    Eagle is correct, Oz also spends far more on universal healthcare and has not succumbed to privatising off bits of it which just raises costs. Medicare provides a far better service than the NHS and is highly cost effective and that’s because none of it has been sold off.

  2. Chris Bergin says:

    Tories proudest achievement so far. Allow their cronies to help them turn Britain (whats left of it) into a playground of rich pickings for the favoured few. Shame they cant export the sick and unemployed, just keep the useful serfs. We ar fast approaching a nightmare. adont forget that disease and illness dont wait at the estate gate or wall.

  3. Poor journalism here – and I’m not referring to your frequent spelling errors and grammatical errors. Your headline does not reflect Tim Martin’s very pertinent point that the NHS (in England, not Scotland) is being sacrificed on a political altar.
    How bad would it be for patients who can afford it to co-pay for minor services (think dentists or opticians) and for the govt to fund it properly and not simply privatise it for the benefit of the banks?
    NHS England is bankrupt because of PFI which sucks out the cash needed for patients

  4. The NHS ain’t running out of money because of PFI (which is a drain of course) but because the Govt won’t fund it properly. We spend less than almost every western economy on healthcare. There isn’t enough cash for patients because there isn’t enough cash. Full stop!

    Also, the co-pay system could well lead to a two tier NHS, relegating those who can’t pay to slower, less responsive and poorer quality NHS services. It would essentially introduce private healthcare for the not-quite-as-well-off.

  5. Would “Nick Rippin ” put any limit on taxpayer’s cash piled in to the N.H.S.?
    or just give it whatever, no matter how it affects the economy, or how spurious some of the demands on it are.

  6. Investment has to be increased into the NHS. It’s floundering now which works perfectly for the Tory agenda.
    Unfortunately people do not realise the awful state of the NHS until they or one of their loved ones need it. Cancer and clinically urgent surgery is now being cancelled and delayed and the backlog from December and November is just getting exacerbated as we come out the “Winter bed crisis.”
    I believe that Everybody has to accept that the priorities of where we spend our money need to change and everyone of us has to accept that we need to pay more tax to fund education and health & socialcare.
    I don’t have money to spare either, I have two children and am an NHS nurse who has taken a 20% pay cut over the last five years. I just accept that I will have to grit my teeth and scrimp even more that what I am doing now otherwise I worry what this country will have left.

  7. Sad to see the NHS being let down by Tory cuts. People have been conditioned by the media to ‘hate’ the Public Sector, whereas the reality in my opinion is that we should be challenging the dodgy dealing of our current Government and Quick!!

  8. Would I put a limit on money going into NHS?
    Yes, but it MUST increase by the £350m per week the Vote Leave champaign led everyone to believe the NHS was to get.
    Pretty clear, and why would they lead with anything but their strongest argument for leaving the EU.

    No £350m extra per week for the NHS, No Brexit.

  9. It’s very simple, when the NHS under Blair/Brown was funded to the European average it worked, now the government has cut spending well below that level, it doesn’t. Surely the two priorities for any government should be to keep its citizens safe and healthy – defence and health…what’s the point of society if it can’t achieve this?

  10. I already boycott Wetherspoons due to their participation in the Work Program which is forced unpaid labour.

  11. Put your own house or in this case public Houses in order Mr Martin..Waiting time at the bar to be served is getting similar as waiting at a+e!! Don’t even attempt to order some food… 45minutes wait for pingy shite. Got to the stage now that we prefer to pay more at real pubs than use Wetherspoons.

  12. Gaynor Fisher says:

    NHS has a vast number of unused Buildings not being used,that could be sold off,to Fund a better Healthcare system.No they will most probably rub them down until Privatisation by the Tory cronies an then sell them,to the Tory Cronies.NHS can be run efficiently,it’s just being run down so it can be Privatised!!

  13. He’s right in saying that things need to be done differently from what they were because the NHS is a potential ‘black hole’, and that’s been used, as commented earlier, to try to ‘brainwash’ us into hating the public sector. I’d say by-and-large the brainwashing hasn’t worked, but they’ve been able to do it by playing on the financial inefficiency of it compared to the public sector; there’s more incentive to balance the books in a private company (this coming from a government who have taken us from 28bn in debt to almost 2tr!). They see everything in terms of profit and don’t understand the concept of a national service for public benefit. Their solution to this is to counter-productively privatise it. I ask; why can’t we have a nationalised service in which managers are challenged to provide the best possible service for adequate money and made accountable to make sure they do so? Why can’t we root-out the wastage and misuse without nuking the whole thing?

  14. Dr Adrian Garfoot says:

    People would be far healthier if they didn’t spend their time eating greasy Wetherspoons food and knock back their over priced booze. What right has this man to criticise the NHS!

  15. The NHS is vital. It’s public funded in idea… where has that money gone?

    You don’t need THAT many brain cells to work it out. The be all or end all is that the TORIES go for this idea time and time again for profit that is only reserved for the elite….. Britain has ALWAYS been a bargaining chip in a bigger system and the tories throw it on the table like a child sat at a poker game….

  16. We already pay insurance for the NHS – it’s called National Insurance contributions! The reason the NHS is in a mess is down to the privatisation of borrowing at very high interest rates from private lenders (and of the privatisation of services that were part of that package). The ‘PFIs’ or ‘Private Funding Initiatives’ – are the equivalent of borrowing from ‘Wonga’ instead of at the lowest interest rates available. (Governments like PFIs because jeu don’t show up as a debt on the Treasury balance sheet – they only show up when each year for 3 decades a fifth of the NHS budget is immediately swallowed in paying them back).We need to get privatisation in all its forms out of the NHS.

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