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Patient Choice

Volume 588: debated on Tuesday 25 November 2014

This Government are committed to patients having greater choice and control over their health care, and decisions as to which treatments are available on the NHS are taken by GPs on the basis of available scientific evidence.

Does my right hon. Friend have any plans to increase personal health budgets, and will he ensure that there is greater awareness of the health professions that are regulated by the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council, the Health and Care Professions Council and the Professional Standards Authority, which has recently accredited the Society of Homeopaths and the British Acupuncture Council?

I am a strong supporter of personal budgets. People who have complex medical needs want, above all, to have personal control over their own health care, and they will be extremely worried that the Labour party has now said that it wishes to abolish personal budgets.

With regard to reducing patient choice, can the Secretary of State explain the sudden move to remove dialysis from being regarded as a specialised commissioning service, which is of great concern to a constituent of mine who is a renal patient and to the renal community? Will the Secretary of State now agree to a proper consultation—not over the Christmas holidays—and will he think again about that risky move?

We hope to have a public consultation on the matter. We are not seeking to restrict access to dialysis—far from it. We want to make it easier for people to access those vital services, and we have been putting more money into the NHS budget because we recognise just how important they are.