Go ahead for public and private provision mixing
Patients from Scotland who choose to go abroad or make private provision for part of their healthcare will no longer be banned from using NHS services, following draft guidance from Nicola Sturgeon, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing in Scotland.
At present, patients north of the border can pay for having some of their treatment carried out privately but face the possibility of being excluded from receiving NHS treatment for a period of time afterwards.
Under the new guidance, which echoes that made by Alan Johnson in England recently, Scottish patients will be able to mix private and public healthcare provision under certain conditions. This was following a promise by the minister in question in October 2008 to conduct a full review of the health system in Scotland, with a focus on the issue of co-payments for private treatment alongside that provided by the NHS.
Sturgeon said: "Nothing in the new draft guidance should distract us from the priority of making sure that where a patient can genuinely benefit from a drug they are able to access it on the NHS."
However, she added that a system of co-payments should be an exception rather than the norm.
She continued: "However, it is clear that NHS boards can be faced with complicated circumstances where a patient may wish to pay for treatment not provided on the NHS."
All NHS boards have been sent a copy of the guidance and have until 12 January to present their responses.
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