Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Nick Clegg backs co-payments in the NHS

This morning's issue of The Times says Nick Clegg is to set out why he believes patients should be allowed to pay privately for drugs to top up their NHS care. Note the way that newspapers now report news before it has happened.

Anyway, Nick is quoted as follows:
“We cannot continue to deny people the right to top up their care, particularly where they are following their clinician’s advice. An extra week of life may not count for much on a bureaucrat’s chart. But if you’re saying goodbye for ever to your children, it couldn’t matter more.”
A bit melodramatic, perhaps, but I think Nick is right.

I wrote about this issue at the end of last year, saying:
There has always been a side of Labour that loves the NHS because it makes people queue and wait. If the wealthy get away with having a better life for most of the time, socialists can at least take their revenge on them when they are ill.
Maybe that was a bit melodramatic too, but the post does remember the foxhunting Labour MP Reggie Paget.


Anonymous said...

Would there be a way of mainstreaming these drugs into the NHS system should they drop in price or with the growth of the economy?

Charlie said...

This seems inexplicable.

If a drug is effective it needs to be available to all, irrespective of the ability to pay. Presumably, Mr Clegg is relaxed about poorer patients being denied treatment available to wealthier patients.

Top-ups signal the death knell of the NHS. It will simply be expedient for Trusts to add new drugs to the top-up list rather than make them available to all. It will then be necessary for us all to take out private medical insurance to provide such drugs/treatments and, hey presto, you have an insurance-based service running alongside a form of Medicare.

The actual sums involved in providing this new range of cancer drugs are relatively small - the issue is simply a Trojan horse on the road to privatisation.