This guidance by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) provides guidance on how to proceed in situations where NHS patients want to buy additional secondary care services that the NHS does not fund.
- NHS organisations should not withdraw NHS care simply because a patient chooses to buy additional private care.
- Any additional private care must be delivered separately from NHS care.
- The NHS must never charge for NHS care (except where there is specific legislation in place to allow charges) and the NHS should never subsidise private care.
- The NHS should continue to provide free of charge all care that the patient would have been entitled to had he or she not chosen to have additional private care.
- NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts should have clear policies in place, in line with these principles, to ensure effective implementation of this guidance in their organisations. This includes protocols for working with other NHS or private providers where the NHS Trust or Foundation Trust has chosen not to provide additional private care.
- Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) and Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) should work together to ensure that the guidance is being implemented properly in their local areas.