King's Fund describes NHS policy on 'top-up' payments as 'untenable'

The current policy stopping patients from 'topping up' their NHS care with private treatment is 'untenable', according to a leading think-tank.

Responding to the DoH review on co-payments, the King's Fund says the current policy is inconsistent and may harm the NHS's reputation as caring and compassionate.

The rules most commonly affect patients in the late stages of cancer who want to pay for drugs not recommended by NICE because of their cost.

The King's Fund's response states: 'In certain circumstances patients should be permitted to pay privately for drugs that have been rejected on cost-effective grounds and retain their right to access the rest of their treatment on the NHS.

'They should also pay for the associated treatment costs over and above the cost of treatment they would have received on the NHS.'

Critics claim allowing top-up payments will create a two-tier system, with some patients supplementing NHS treatment with expensive private scrips.

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