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Rules on top-up payments risk creating two tier system in NHS, MPs warn

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b1973 (Published 13 May 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1973
  1. Rebecca Coombes
  1. 1BMJ

    Seriously ill patients who choose to top up their NHS care by buying additional drugs for treatment at the end of life are likely to be treated on the same ward as patients who can’t afford the extra drugs, MPs warned this week.

    Since November 2008 a change of rules has allowed patients to buy additional drugs without losing their right to NHS care—as long as these drugs are administered separately from NHS treatment. The change came after an increasing number of challenges to the NHS by patients to provide new unapproved drugs to treat cancer and other life threatening conditions.

    But in its report on top-up payments this week, MPs from the health select committee said that the government had fudged the issue. “We are very concerned that separation will be hard to achieve in practice,” they said.

    “We believe …

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