Friday, October 24, 2008

Britain's National Health Service and private medicine

Up until now, Britain's NHS has insisted that patients either accept the NHS's formulary which does not cover some expensive drugs, or give up all access to NHS care; i.e. patients who pay for some of their own drugs have been required to pay for all of their drugs and treatment, even those that would have been free to other British citizens. Now, the Telegraph reports:
"NHS patients will be allowed to pay for private 'top up' care: Patients will be allowed to pay privately for drugs and still receive NHS treatment under plans to be announced by the Government in the next fortnight. "

"Under current rules, hospitals may withdraw treatment from patients who want to use their own money to buy drugs not available on the health service.
But Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, is preparing to announce that so-called top-up payments will be allowed. "
"Concerns have been raised that such a move would create a two-tier health service where wealthy patients buy life saving treatments denied to those who cannot afford them.
...The Government ordered a review into top-up payments earlier in the year. There has been a public outcry after some NHS hospitals refused to treat those paying for their own drugs or other treatments."

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