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Legal right to private treatment set to be unveiled

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Proposals to give patients the legal right to private treatment, the right to die at home and NHS dentistry are set to be revealed by the Government.

The NHS Constitution, which would come into force in April next year, states that patients will be legally entitled to treatment within 18 weeks of referral by their GP. If they have suspected cancer, they will be seen within two weeks.

Should the NHS be unable to treat patients quickly enough then staff will need to provide alternatives, such as treatment at private hospitals. The Government says measures such as these will ensure patients around the country receive a more even standard of care.

“Waiting times are the shortest they have ever been but I want to build on this and give patients a legal right to maximum waiting times,” said health secretary Andy Burnham.

“Turning targets into legal rights will empower patients and guarantee them the same high standards of care, regardless of where they live.”

The Tories have pledged to phase out NHS targets and focus on measuring the outcomes for patients.

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