Published on 30/10/2012
NHS patients in Scotland without private health insurance may be flown to foreign countries for complex operations to avoid breaking new Scottish waiting list legislation.
Patients may be flown abroad for treatment
The new legislation offers a legal guarantee that patients will be treated on the NHS within 12 weeks of diagnosis, as part of the SNP’s flagship Patients’ Rights Act.
But between 400 and 500 patients at NHS Lothian are on course to miss the December deadline, and will be offered operations elsewhere in Scotland, Britain, Switzerland and the European Union.
Patients who agree to travel to the UK or Europe could be there for more than a week, but a friend of family member will have their flights and accommodation costs paid for to accompany them.
NHS Lothian said that only a small proportion of patients are likely to be offered operations outside of Scotland, and those that are do not have to accept the treatment.
It is not yet known how the health boards will be punished for missing the 12 week deadline.
A government spokesperson said: “We have made clear to NHS Lothian that patients should be treated as locally as possible. NHS Lothian has been asked to precisely quantify and demonstrate that all possible treatment options are considered and will be utilised if appropriate.
“We do not envisage patients travelling to Europe for treatment.
“We know that – because of complex needs - some patients may need to be treated externally or at another health board, or in some limited circumstances, and with specialised cases, elsewhere in the UK, but only if patients are happy to do that and they are appropriately supported.”
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012Categories: NHS and Hospitals