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Doctors Tout for Business as Minor Ops no longer funded by NHS

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A health centre in Yorkshire has written to patients who need minor surgical procedures telling them they are no longer to be funded by the NHS.  The letter details their options to undergo the treatment privately, with a list of four providers and costs.  However, one of the providers is a company that is owned by the doctor’s practice.

The company, HBG Ltd., is one of four options offered to the patients.  The type of procedures it refers to is those such as wart removal, mole removal, cyst removal and ingrowing toenail operations.  Prices range from £56 to have a skin tag removed, to £256 for the removal of a lipoma.

The chairman of the Royal College of GP’s, Dr. Clare Gerada, has warned that under the new Health and Social Care Bill brought in by Andrew Lansley that this kind of business practice is likely to become commonplace.

While it’s true that the NHS will no longer pay for minor procedures such as the ones mentioned, it’s surely a conflict of interest for surgeries to be able to offer to carry out these procedures for a fee.

However, this seems to be the kind of practice that Andrew Lansley seems keen to promote.  His ‘pro-market’ NHS bill will introduce a voucher scheme for around 50,000 patients who suffer from long term medical conditions.  These vouchers will allow them to then seek out and purchase their own treatment.

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