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Patients who choose to pay for additional treatments should be entitled to NHS treatment - McGuinness

5 November, 2008

Sinn Féin MP for Mid-Ulster Martin McGuinness has called for the extension of measures to the North of Ireland that will guarantee that patients suffering from serious illness' and choose to pay for additional will continue to receive NHS treatment.

Speaking today Mr McGuinness said:

"I am calling on the Health Minister to extend the measure introduced in Britain this week that secures treatment by the NHS for those who suffer from serious illness even if they choose to pay for additional treatments or drugs.

"The current system sees patients who avail of private drugs being excluded for any further treatment by the NHS. This cannot be allowed to continue and I have written to Michael McGimpsey to urge him to move on this matter .

"An example is that if someone suffering from cancer were to avail of a drug that would see their lives extended then they would have to pay for any further chemotherapy or other related treatments. This would place a massive financial burden on the patient amounting to thousands of pounds.

"However this week saw the removal of such barriers to treatment by the British Health Secretary, Alan Johnson. He has brought forward a package of measures including the continuation of treatment of patients who pay for additional drugs by the NHS.

"If we are to seek to deliver a first class heath service where we safeguard the rights of people with serious illnesses the logical next step for Michael McGimpsey is to extend these measures for patients in the north."

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