Citizens Voluntary Contributions (CVC)

My proposal if adopted would provide guaranteed billions of pounds of additional funding for the NHS, increasing exponentially each year.

Virtually the whole of the UK population of circa 68 million touch the NHS every year, either directly by GP consultations, hospital attendance etc or if not directly then through our relationships with people who have used the service.

During the pandemic approx. 80% of the UK population received at least one Covid jab so approx. 55 million of us. Many of us went on to receive a 2nd/3rd or 4th one.

At present there is no effective method by which individuals or corporate entities can give money directly to support the NHS.

My idea is a simple one of having donation points (ATM’S) at every NHS outlet. This would enable people on a voluntary basis to donate amounts that are affordable to them, at a time that they are moved to do because of a personal experience they have had.

Using just the Covid example how many of us would have contributed something on our way out of the vaccination centre. I certainly would have. Wouldn’t you?

Even if you have Private health insurance at times of emergency treatment e.g. heart attack stroke or accident etc you are still treated free of charge by the NHS. For non urgent procedures you either fund it privately or through insurance or else pay nothing. There is no way of opting to pay a voluntary amount, no middle ground.

In addition Individuals should be able as a matter of course to access information on the basis of ‘what was the cost of the treatment I received today”. This would enable people to put donations into the context of the cost.

All donations should be placed in a Charitable Trust which will have a clearly defined purpose of providing funding to the NHS. This would ensure there is proper governance supporting collection and collation of donations and distribution of same. Aside from the donation machines there would be an opportunity to donate online at anytime.

The National Debt pre coronavirus was of great concern to to us all but post the pandemic it has ballooned to never seen before levels mainly because of State funded levels of welfare that are unsurpassed anywhere else in the World.

Increasing taxes, cutting benefits and amenities, making means tested compulsory payments for NHS funded services are terribly unpopular but may become inevitable to avoid dire economic and social consequences.

Initiatives like the ‘Captain Tom and ‘Tony’ ones motivated people to donate during the early stags of the pandemic. The campaigns were so successful because they were clearly focused with each having a specific objective. Actually the only way to contribute to the NHS, albeit indirectly. These donations were time critical and this clarity of purpose motivated ordinary people to make significant contributions at short notice.

My scheme is based on the premise is that there are missed opportunities for people to make voluntary contributions which would help to support the NHS. It is not about the amount each donor gives, it is about the shear volume of the contributions made 24/7 which will add up to truly significant amounts.

The key to securing contributions for good causes is fundamentally based on seizing the opportunity at the exact time that an individual is feeling philanthropic. To do this the mechanism of obtaining contributions needs to be voluntary, affordable, efficient and as easy as possible whilst making much better use of the available technology.

In the space of 1500 words I am not able to outline some of the innovative tax incentives for individuals and Companies that I believe could be incorporated nor am I able to outline details of an incentive scheme that I would propose that could run in tandem with the donations. This involves accumulating Citizens points very much like a nectar card but where points could be used for health related costs and prize funds. The scheme also to incorporate a way of gifting points to nominated support staff.

Enforcing means tested charges for Government funded services would be wholly unacceptable to the vast majority of the UK public. Introducing a method or methods by which individuals and corporate entities can make voluntary contributions is a more gentle introduction to the inevitable need for increased funding.

We cannot rely purely on increasing taxes, reducing benefits or means testing to meet the financial commitments. We must start to encourage the notion that each of us has a responsibility of supporting the NHS as we use it and on an ongoing basis. My proposed voluntary scheme is a first gentle step.

The implementation and ongoing running costs will be an insignificant percentage of the total sum of donations.

Crucially over time a culture would emerge whereby people would feel it was their civil responsibility to make affordable contributions when moved to do so, but at levels that do not compromise their financial security at any given point.

For most of us the NHS sees us both into and out of this world and touches us throughout our lives. Over the years as I have walked out of the Maternity ward or A&E with a sick child or Husband or ICU having visited my now deceased Mother In Law. All I could do is say thank you. Notwithstanding that I paid tax during my working life and still am there is a frustration that I was not able to ‘contribute’ something towards the care received for those NHS events at the time they happened over the years. This is I am sure a conundrum that many people face which my scheme would address.