Health Bill will move NHS patients to back of queue

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MY family has this week experienced the changes our NHS is undergoing.

My son was referred last year to an orthodontist by our NHS dentist.

The orthodontist turned out to be a private provider commissioned to provide care to NHS patients.

My son started last year on a lengthy course of treatment.

At his regular appointment this week we received a letter informing us that our local NHS commissioners are renegotiating their orthodontic contracts and from April 1 my son could have to change provider.

We are very happy with the provider we have and the treatment being received and do not want to change.

This is a prime example of the second class service NHS patients can expect under the new plans.

Had we been private patients we could be confident of starting and finishing the treatment with the same provider, but with the NHS internal markets and commissioning of private providers it seems that we are at the mercy of the commissioners and will have to put up with being shunted from pillar to post.

And I fear worse will happen if the government’s proposals for the NHS become law.

NHS hospitals through the current internal market derive their income from ‘payment by results’ – they get paid for each procedure, operation, appointment etc they carry out.

If the Health and Social Care Bill becomes law – NHS hospitals cap on how much of their income they can get from treating private patients will be lifted so that they will be able to get up to 49 per cent of their income from private patients.

This threatens to put us NHS patients to the back of the queue while our strapped for cash hospitals try to make up their shortfalls by treating more private patients.

The government use a lot of buzz words when talking about the NHS but what you never hear them talk about is ‘fairness’, regardless of what you have or where you live.

JANE SHAW

Whitley Bay