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Friday, December 21, 2007

just add the magic letters "E.U."

The Indie didn't like the patients passport much. Like us they thought the top up proposals were the wrong way to go about introducing choice into the NHS.

"The Conservatives have come up with a range of extreme solutions. They include the proposal that patients and parents should have passports which would give them the "power" to take their custom to a school or hospital of their choice. For those wealthy enough to attend a private hospital, taxpayers would make a substantial contribution. This is a perverse form of targeting: increasing public expenditure on the most affluent."

- Steve Richards, Independent, 19.10.2003

"The Tory solution, however, looks suspiciously like a subsidy for wealthier patients. Their "passport" policy (rather hastily renamed "right to choose" after confused voters wondered if they had to go abroad to benefit) offers to refund part of the cost of private operations. It is right to try to use the private sector to help reform the public sector. But this assists only those who can afford to pay to go private, while doing little to help the less well-off or to confront the inherent problems of a sclerotic NHS."

- Leader, Independent, 24.06.2004

----> But now add the magic euro-ingredient... and lo - a sudden change of heart:

"Another development is news of a draft initiative from the European Commission to open up the European health system so that citizens can access services in other member states if it is quicker than in their home country. This is no panacea for the ills of our own health service. But it is certainly good news for those patients presently at the mercy of a woefully inefficient and unresponsive NHS. And the competition should be good for the NHS itself in the long-term. [...] They are also gearing up to challenge the complacency of our monolithic NHS and offering British patients greater freedom of choice in healthcare. So much for the stereotype of useless Brussels bureaucrats who do nothing but think up ways to make life more difficult for us."

- Leader, Independent, 20.12.07

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Irish proprietor of this loss-making title is a man on a mission. He gambled and lost the bet to re-unite the 2 parts of Ireland under the single currency, and now he scrambles to halt the widening chasm emerging between the 2 halves of his island, In the north Sinn Fein and the DUP can at least agree on one thing - the rejection of the EU Lisbon Reform Treaty. In the south there are only a handful of TD's who oppose the treaty. As for the cross-border traffic in health tourism it is a one way street. In the republic patients have to pay for their ops up front and are re-embursed after a lengthy bureaucratic process. In Ulster healthcare is free period. No wonder Tony favours this EU initiative!