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Hospitals dodging topping up rules

15th October 2008

About 1,000 patients a year are topping up their NHS care with expensive private treatments against Government rules, it was revealed yesterday.

NHS hospitals are dodging the rule on top-ups to help patients gain access to drugs not available on the NHS.

A private firm said it had contracts with 30 NHS hospitals to offer treatments privately to patients who are also receiving standard care.

The practice is supposedly banned and the Government has said patients cannot mix and match private and NHS care.

Cancer tsar Professor Mike Richards is reviewing the issue and will publish his report in the next few weeks.

Ruth Pool, managing director of clinical services at Healthcare at Home, which is supplying the drugs privately, said about 1,000 pateints a year in the UK are mixing private and NHS care with the help of their doctors and the firm.

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