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McGuinness welcomes move to make NHS treatment available for those who pay for drugs.

21 January, 2009

Sinn Féin MP for Mid-Ulster Martin McGuinness has welcomed 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 welcoming the move by the Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey, to extend the measure introduced in Britain 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 previous system saw patients, who availed of private drugs, being excluded from any further treatment by the NHS. This could not continue and I had written to Michael McGimpsey to express my concerns and press for the system to be changed.

"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 have placed a massive financial burden on the patient amounting to thousands of pounds.

"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 was for Michael McGimpsey to extend these measures for patients in the north as he has done so today."

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