Great Britain’s Vaunted National Health Insurance won’t pay for necessary drugs to its patients, but it has refused to allow them to contribute their own money to get the better medicines–in the name of equality, of course. Now that is changing. According to the Times of London:
Ministers are preparing to allow public patients to pay for some top-up drugs in a decision that opponents claim will spell the end of the National Health Service.
Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, is poised to relax the ban on patients paying privately for life-extending treatments while receiving NHS care. Such a change could result in wealthier patients living longer because they have been able to buy expensive drugs not approved by the NHS. It will force cancer sufferers to consider whether paying more than £30,000 a year for a drug is worth the extra months or years they could gain.
Mr Johnson is aware that such reforms to the ethos of the NHS would be controversial, but believes that the current rules are unsustainable.
Ministers hope that an independent review next month will help to make the case for change. “Whatever is recommended won’t satisfy everyone. There is no magic bullet that resolves this very difficult issue,” one senior figure told The Times.