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Sunday, 19 October 2008

Top-up payments will be allowed for all NHS patients, the government is expected to announce, in a move critics described as a "u-turn".

Health secretary Alan Johnson 'to reverse' policy on top-up payments for NHS patients

from the Sunday Telegraph


"Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, is ready to declare that patients may pay for private treatment while receiving some care from the NHS, it has emerged.

The government has been under pressure to clarify its rules after it some NHS trusts told cancer patients they could not buy private drugs while simultaneously receiving free public care while others said the opposite.

In an announcement widely viewed to be made to parliament by the middle of November, Mr Johnson is expected to blame the problem on misinterpretation by some hospitals.

Although the move will be welcomed by campaigners, it will be heartbreaking for the families of cancer patients who died after their NHS care was withdrawn because they topped up their treatment.

The Health Secretary signalled his intention to change the rules earlier this year when he asked Professor Mike Richards, the Government's cancer czar, to produce a report on the issue.

Experts believe he will open the door to more top-up payments because an increasing number of drugs being licensed are beyond the budget of the NHS."

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