Sunday, July 06, 2008

Could this lead to NHS privatisation?

New rights for patients to shop around Europe for the best healthcare are part of a new "Social Agenda" launched in Brussels.

If approved by EU governments, the controversial move would guarantee that costs are covered by the patient's own national health scheme back home.

The plan follows years of legal cases in which European court judges have ruled that freedom to cross EU borders for the best or quickest treatment should be a right for all.

But the measure would have safeguards - costs would be reimbursed in line with similar costs which would be incurred if the treatment was carried out at home, and repayment would only apply to those having healthcare insurance in their own country.

This sounds good but it is not. I think Britain is the only country in Europe with free healthcare and this could be jeopardised by this ‘new right’. The NHS has a limited amount of money. They are not a bottomless money pot. If people can go abroad it will mean that the NHS has to spend even more money whereas now they have a waiting list where they perform operations and treatment when they can afford to.

If this was to happen often the government would say the NHS has gone bankrupt or is close to it and they will tell us that they have no other option but to privatise it. In reality they know this but they want to try and make money off us as fast as they can.

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