Following a 12-week consultation, which included hearing the views of a wide range of NHS and other stakeholders, I am today publishing final guidance on NHS patients who wish to pay for additional private care. The Department received 146 consultation responses, and was pleased that many of these responses were broadly supportive of the recommendations of the Richards review and the aims of the guidance. The final version of the guidance addresses many of the practical issues raised by respondents, and will provide clarity for trusts and patients in the small number of cases where they choose to purchase additional private treatment.
Patients and the public can be confident that together with the package I set out in my oral statement on 4 November 2008, Official Report, column 131, these measures will mean greater fairness and faster access to a wider range of more expensive drugs, reducing the need for patients to seek private care in the first place.
The guidance and the response to the consultation has been placed in the Library of the House and copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office.