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NHS charges could lead to private medical cover uptake

Published on 17/08/2010
Many may be tempted to take out private medical cover in the future as the NHS struggles to deal with cut backs.

A new report has suggested the service may have to begin charging for some treatments in the near future.

According to research by Friends Provident for its Visions of Britain 2020 report, the NHS could also start penalising those who need healthcare as a result of unhealthy lifestyles such as smoking and poor diet.

This will be a way to increase NHS funds and encourage people to live healthier lifestyles, it predicts.

Dr Sarah Brewer, an expert consulted for the report, said: "We all know that we should follow a healthy low fat diet, eat at least 5-a day etc. But how many actually do anything about it? Unless an unhealthy diet and lifestyle is penalised in some way no-one will change."

Furthermore, charges could be brought in for currently free treatments such as IVF, dementia treatment and obesity surgery and drugs, says the report.

"One scenario is that people may well end up being charged for certain treatments or denied certain non-essential treatment, particularly if their unhealthy lifestyle was a contributory factor," said Dr Brewer.

It was recently revealed that the NHS faces a bill of over £65 billion in repayments for hospitals built under the private finance initiative.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010

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