Farage urges rich to go private
The increase in the UK's population has made it harder to get a GP appointment, Nigel Farage said as he urged people who could afford to private healthcare not to use the NHS.
The Ukip leader said some of the burden on the NHS could be relieved "if a small percentage of people can afford to go private".
Mr Farage, who is running for parliament in Thanet South on May 7, said he "probably will win the seat" but confirmed his time as Ukip leader would be over if he failed.
The Ukip leader's comments on the NHS come after he used his autobiography to criticise the care he received, accusing medics of "incompetence and negligence".
He claimed he was "fobbed off by one NHS doctor to the next" who failed to diagnose his testicular cancer and said "without private health care I would probably be dead".
Setting out his views on private care Mr Farage told BBC Radio 5 Live's John Pienaar: " What we've had in this country is the rich getting richer in quite a spectacular way over the last couple of decades and for them paying for private health care and being able to have operations when they want or medical appointments when they want and paying for the privilege, frankly financially means nothing to them.
"I would advise them to do it."
He added: " Those that can afford to do it should and they will find health care to suit their needs, because for most people actually getting a GP appointment now has become a massive problem with the population having risen the way that it has - and if people do opt out and go private, what that of course does is to relieve the pressure on the health service for everybody else."
Asked whether encouraging the wealthy to go private would create a two-tier health system, Mr Farage said: "That exists already."
Mr Farage added: " The better off would be paying twice. They'll be paying once through general taxation into the NHS and secondly for their own private cover."
On BBC One's Daily Politics Mr Farage insisted he supported the NHS despite the personal experiences detailed in his book The Purple Revolution.
"Just because you criticise something, doesn't mean you don't love it and value it," he said.
In The Purple Revolution, Mr Farage praises the NHS for being "astonishingly good" at emergency critical care but claims the NHS will "probably let you down" over screening and a fast diagnosis.
Mr Farage wrote: "When I had cancer, the incompetence and negligence of the NHS almost killed me, but it has also saved my life. I am certainly not taking any flak from gutless politicians who claim that I am no fan or supporter of the NHS."
The Ukip leader told Daily Politics he was optimistic but not complacent about his chance of becoming an MP: "I think I probably will win the seat but there will be no complacency from me at all."
If he failed to secure a place in the Commons he said "of course" that would be it for him. "I believe in life if you succeed you should get rewarded and if you fail you should get the sack - it's quite simple."