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Top-ups available on the NHS, government announces

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Patients in England will be able to top up NHS care by paying for drugs privately, health secretary Alan Johnson has announced.

Until now, patients have been excluded from the NHS if they pay for treatment not available on the health service, but in practice this varies from place to place.

Mr Johnson has announced that he will lift the ban, following a four-month review of the issue by national clinical director for cancer Professor Mike Richards.

However, the government has stated that any private treatment should take place in a private facility and must not be subsidised by the NHS.

'A small number of patients may still choose to pay for additional drugs not available on the NHS. But I have agreed that, from today, NHS care must never be withdrawn in these cases-as long as private treatment takes place in a private facility'.

The Department of Health announced the review in June, after an outcry from patients over what was considered a hard-line stance and increasing evidence of an inconsistent approach by individual NHS trusts.

In total, 15,000 patients appealed to their local NHS trust last year after being denied treatment although according to Professor Richards up to 75 per cent patients who appealed were successful.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • When clients use Nuffield Hospitals for hip and knee operations follow up care is provided in some areas by NHS district nurses physios and OT's along with the necessary equipment and dressings for free. Perhaps I may be envious but I certainly feel strongly that my NHS patients in need of these additional services could be disadvantaged by the queue jumpers. I wonder if Mr Johnson would be inclined to pay for his treatment and then recieve freebies on the NHS.Is it not time to fully fund the NHS and stop selling it off piecemeal.

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