Patients Penalised For Top-Up Care

Private Health Treatment


NHS patients have accused the Government of penalising them if they choose to pay for extra private treatment.

Cancer sufferers say they are being banned from receiving NHS treatment if they pay for drugs not available via the health service because the Government is against a two-tier system beneficial to the well-off.

At least one patient is known to have died after being denied free treatment because she opted for a drug only available privately, and a number of others are believed to be planning legal action in the hope of forcing the NHS to allow sufferers to pay for top-up care.

Leading cancer charity Cancer Research UK called on Health Secretary Alan Johnson to address the problem, adding that the issue was a complex one.

"We don't support moves that perpetuate inequalities," said Richard Davidson, director of policy and public affairs at Cancer Research UK. "But we find it equally unpalatable that cancer patients who can afford to pay for life-extending treatment should be denied from doing so.

"This is a complex issue which the Government needs to resolve."

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