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Smokers pay extra for doc

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram A medical practice in NSW that charges smokers $10 extra to see a GP have been criticised for discriminating against those that need the care the most.The fee discrepency came to light after a couple were told that if they had been non-smokers the fee would have been $56 instead of the $66 standard consultation fee the Lochinvar Medical Centre in the NSW Hunter Valley charges for smokers.“I feel it’s discrimination against smokers,” Joanne Dennis told The Australian. “They don’t charge more for people addicted to alcohol or cannabis or speed. It’s my choice to smoke. I don’t feel I should be charged for it, I’m charged enough when I buy a packet of cigarettes.” Ms Dennis said the practice manager, Felicity Goswell, the wife of the clinic’s GP, John Goswell, had said it was a reward system for non-smokers.“They are being judgmental … would he be judgmental of someone’s weight or someone’s mental illness?”Liz Marles, vice-president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, said charging smokers higher doctor’s fees would not encourage smokers to quit.Carol Bennett, executive director of the Consumers Health Forum, said charging smokers more was “a bit like penalising the poor” and the “ultimate goal should be to improve healthcare outcomes”.last_img read more