Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Top-up payments

The issue of top-ups is a tough one. The key problem is that this decision could open the door to the government making decisions more on price than effectiveness, which goes contrary to the NHS principles. It could easily mark the end of free health care at point of need. That said, how can the NHS refuse treatment to someone who wants to add expensive treatments that would not be particularly effective?

The NHS now needs to be far more careful that it provides the most effective care and not dumb down the level of interventions on the basis that people can top-up. They should ensure that no-one has to top up care, but with the proponents of high cost interventions hard selling their services, the public are unlikely to get good information to base decisions on.

Meanwhile the right wing health capitalists intent on making huge piles of cash are laughing all the way to the Leeds...
Interesting press release from the NHS Support Federation below:

NHS Support Federation News release Immediate:

4 November 2008 NHS top-ups a victory for the individual, but what about the rest?

Reacting to the plan to allow patients to top-up their NHS treatment with private care the NHS Support Federation said

“This is a victory for individual patients just trying to get themselves the treatment they want, often in tragic circumstances. But the obvious question is what about the patients with similar illnesses that can’t afford to go private.”

“The NHS was born out of the need to give everyone equal access to healthcare. Safeguards to protect these principles are essential. How far can we go without this defining principle of the NHS becoming meaningless in reality.”

“NICE will come under pressure to reassure the public that NHS patients are not being denied access to effective treatments. And if treatments are held back because of their cost it should only be after the public have had their say.”

“We need NICE to continue to help ensure NHS treatments are safe and effective. Their role in establishing affordability is less well understood by the public. The NHS itself needs to be more accountable. We cannot off load this responsibility.”

Paul Evans, director NHS Support Federation

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