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British elderly to pay for “free” medical care
September 29, 2010
NHS has forced elderly people and group of patients to pay for medical care, the new chairman of the House of Commons health committee says.
Additional to elderly, dementia patients, stroke victims and those with Parkinson’s disease are included in the list of the patients who have to pay for medical treatment they receive.
Stephen Dorrell, who was health secretary towards the end of John Major’s time as prime minister, said that despite the ageing population the number of places has fallen by nearly 80% in the UK over the past 20 years.
He also said that this pushed people into the social care systems where they were often charged for treatment. Dorrell believes the NHS has turned his back on a group of patients.
“People are being charged for care that they would have got free from the NHS 20 or 30 years ago…
“Unfortunately, it has been ignored because both politically and financially it is tricky for politicians to face up to it. But because it has not been done in a planned way there is great unfairness in the system. We see examples of cost shunting and bureaucracy that cause individuals problems.”
Age UK policy adviser Stephen Lowe backed Dorrell and said he was right to call attention to the issue and that the NHS had “unilaterally retreated” from its responsibilities.
Ruth Sutherland, interim chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “There are hundreds of thousands of people missing out on valuable financial help because they don’t ‘tick the right boxes’.”
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