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Call for NHS top-ups to be allowed

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Patients should be able to purchase drugs not available on the NHS and continue to receive free health treatment, according to an influential think-tank.

The King’s Fund said the current system, which prevents patients buying non-approved drugs while in NHS care, is untenable.

In a response to the Department of Health’s review of additional private drugs for NHS care, the King’s Fund said there is inconsistency over patient charging, such as optical care and dental care.

It added that current legislation does not provide clear information about why some top-ups are allowed but others, such as non-NICE approved drugs, are not.

Inconsistent application of NICE recommendations across different PCTs – meaning some patients are able to receive drugs, while others would have to forego their NHS care to receive them.

The King’s Fund called on the government to allow top-ups but clarify which ones are allowed, calculate costs and ensure patients understand the financial liabilities they are incurring by paying for extra drugs.

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