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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2008): National Health Service - funding

Doctors: allow NHS patients to buy extra drugs

R. Smith

Daily Telegraph, July 10th 2008, p. 6

Doctors at the British Medical Association conference in Edinburgh debated whether or not patients should be allowed to buy drugs that are not available on the NHS while receiving the rest of their care free. Some argued that not letting people top up their NHS treatment with privately purchased medication was a cruel form of rationing. However, there are concerns that pharmaceutical companies might put pressure on vulnerable patients to buy expensive but ineffective drugs. In the end the conference voted to call for an inquiry.

(See also Public Finance, June 20th-26th 2008, p. 18)

Half of Britons believe NHS will cease to be free at point of use

J. Laurance

The Independent, July 5th 2008, p. 5

Half the public believe they will have to pay directly towards their NHS treatment within a decade, a survey by the British Medical Association reveals. However, 93 per cent of those surveyed believe the NHS should continue to be state funded and remain free at point of use.

Watching the detectives

H. Mooney

Health Service Journal, July 31st 2008, p. 20-22

The NHS Counter Fraud Service has helped cut the value of fraud against the NHS from 171m to 76m. In 2008 Philip Neal, a former finance director, was jailed for forgery after exaggerating his trust's profits. Some believe Mr Neal was treated harshly given the pressure on trusts to break even. The Counter Fraud Service has defended its decision to prosecute. However, not all cases warrant criminal prosecution; other sanctions are available.

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