Nick Clegg on NHS top-up payments

Wiritng for The Guardian’s Comment Is Free blog today, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg welcomes Labour’s U-turn on NHS top-up payments:

The rules that forced patients to pay the full cost of their NHS care if they chose to use their own savings for an expensive but life-saving drug were clearly unsustainable. Worse, the rules were inhuman and unjust.

Nobody pretends that it isn’t a difficult issue, but it is unacceptable to continue to deny people the right to top up their care, particularly where they are following their doctor’s advice. …

There must be no fragmentation of care; those who pay for top-ups should not take away from the NHS, it must not pave the way for queue-jumping in the NHS. Any impression that the NHS is subsidising private care must be avoided, and we must not allow the NHS to shrink to provision of a few basic services. …

Today’s announcement is an important step to a more liberal NHS: one that truly values choice. However, the challenge is to avoid this undermining the important principle of equity and to ensure that it goes hand-in-hand with much-improved access under the NHS to life-saving drugs routinely available overseas.

You can read the full article here.

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This entry was posted in LibLink and News.


  • David Allen 5th Nov '08 - 6:06pm

    The full article, and several perceptive replies on the Guardian website, are worth reading.

    I am pleased to see that Nick Clegg at least now recognises belatedly that this move, which he first called for, seriously threatens to introduce a two-tier health service. As he says, there is now a big challenge to try to ensure that it does not.

    Amazingly, it seems to be left to the Tories to stand firm against this!

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