Hospital patients in England will get the legal right to be seen privately if they face NHS delays.
Hospitals have to start treating patients within 18 weeks of referral - or two weeks in the case of cancer. But ministers will now give patients a legal right to private care - or treatment at another NHS centre if so desired - if this does not happen.
In an effort to reign in out of control wait times-often more than 18 weeks-the government is now set to amend the NHS Constitution which give people the right to seek private treatment if the NHS cannot meet a reduced wait time goal. The irony of government regulations causing a need for more government regulation. While these new guarantees may be written and the intention behind them is certainly honorable, there is no doubt that writing it down does nothing to alleviate the real problem-there are too many people in a system that is unsustainable and going broke. For those loving the idea of single-payer, please tell me what about waiting 18 weeks or more to begin treatment is better than what we have now?