THE UK Health Secretary has denied people will have to start paying a Netflix-style subscription to use the NHS.

Sajid Javid likened the current system to the now-defunct video store Blockbuster, saying the country has a “Blockbuster healthcare system in the age of Netflix”.

He said that his comments, made to a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, meant that the NHS needs to modernise.

Asked whether his Netflix reference meant people would need to start paying for a subscription, he told BBC News: “Not at all. I’m very proud we’ve got an NHS that is free at the point of use, paid out of our general taxation, there for all of us when we need it.

“But what I mean by that particular comment is it needs to modernise. We need to make sure that we keep modernising and that we have an NHS that is looking out towards 2048, not one that was designed for 1948.

“And the Blockbuster analogy is that, for those that remember Blockbuster, is that it failed to modernise, it failed to adapt to changing trends in markets, and therefore it wasn’t able to serve its customers and did not survive.

“No-one wants to see that kind of thing happen to something as important as the NHS.

“And that means making sure that the NHS is looking at the latest demographics, our ageing population, the changes in the burden of disease use – for example, we have more dementia and certain types of cancer today than ever before – and also medicines and the latest technology.”

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He said that the Covid-19 pandemic “produced a moment for us as a country to really grasp modernisation in a way that we haven’t” previously.

And Javid told Times Radio: “Anyone who remembers Blockbuster will remember a company that basically failed to modernise and as a result, it wasn’t able to serve its customers or indeed survive.

“I’m very proud of our NHS, and I want it to always be there giving us world-class healthcare, free at the point of use, paid out of general taxation, but in doing so, we [need to] just make sure that it’s modern.

“So it’s about modernisation, to make sure the NHS is giving the very best care to all of us.”

Blockbuster closed its remaining stores in the UK in December 2013, after administrators were unable to find a buyer for the chain.

It had been hit hard by intense competition from supermarkets, as well as the shift from physical rental and sales to online games, music and films.

Labour’s shadow health secretary Wes Streeting later criticised Javid’s Blockbuster and Netflix comments.

He said: “I think it’s slightly absurd that 12 years into a government we have government ministers who talk in the biggest generalities without plans to deliver anything.

“We have a government that is not governing and doesn’t have answers. It just has generalities.”