NHS charges – January 2007
- Letter to all DsPH
Letter from ADPH President
31 January 2007
Re: Patient Charges for Treatment
The ADPH executive decided about six months ago to promote three policy areas this year: disinvestment in ineffective procedures, alcohol misuse and choosing health / NHS reform issues. The Welsh decision to abandon prescription charges was a good media opportunity to raise the former, by considering whether the use of charges in the NHS should be reviewed.
A copy of the press release we issued on Monday 29 January is attached.
Our purpose was to explain that charges for relatively effective issues, such as prescriptions, NHS dentistry, sight tests etc. were unfair, and ran against the principles of the NHS. If the NHS was going to charge for anything, it should charge for relativelyineffective treatments instead, such as those that many of us are currently writing into our exclusions policies. This would arguably produce clinical change in a more speedy, fairer and more systematic way than it is possible for us each to do individually. It’s one idea in a debate that should be facilitated by government and led by the public.
I am sure that we all support strongly that the NHS must remain free at the point of delivery for effective treatment. The emphasis here being on the word effective – as Archie Cochrane first stated prior to the formation of the NHS. With the current system of charges, the NHS appears somewhat to have lost its way.
I personally am a passionate believer in the core values of the NHS and was misrepresented by some of the reporting on Monday, which suggested that we were proposing charges for hip and ophthalmic surgery . That reporting was corrected and I am pleased that , as a result of our initiative, the LibDems health policy team are likely now also to be calling for an ‘Oregon’ type of debate on the NHS, and that the Tories would support disinvestment in ineffective procedures.
I hope this makes the position of the ADPH clear and that the position of the Association accords with your views on commissioning of effective services.