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Ukip committed to free NHS - Farage

Nigel Farage has insisted Ukip has settled on its health policy for the general election, amid increased questions over the party's view on NHS privatisation.

The Ukip leader reiterated that his party is "absolutely committed" to healthcare being free at the point of delivery, adding: "There's no more debate, there's no more argument."

A video from 2012 has emerged in which Mr Farage suggested a move to an insurance-based system would be required.

Asked about the video on Channel 4 News, Mr Farage said he was suggesting in 2012 that all options should be considered before Ukip formulated its policy.

On whether he wanted the party to consider an insurance-based system now, Mr Farage said: "No, we dropped that, well, we haven't dropped it, we haven't accepted it."

He later told the BBC: "I have set out today in my weekly column in the Independent what our settled health policy is and we're absolutely committed to healthcare being free at the point of delivery.

"There are reforms we want within the system. Yes, we want efficiencies. Yes, we think that actually the PFI deals that Labour has hung round the necks of our hospitals - we're really going to urge local authorities to buy those out as soon as they humanly can - and we'll also be talking about middle management in the NHS, which has grown by 48% since 1997.

"So, there's no more debate, there's no more argument. I was actually going to wait to release our health policy but given all this debate, here it is now."

In his column in the Independent, Mr Farage confirmed other health proposals from the party - also raised at the Ukip conference in September.

They include ending hospital car parking charges, ensuring "foreign-trained" healthcare workers are properly qualified and speak English, and having GP surgeries open at least one evening per week where there is demand.

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