NHS Budget Faces Funding Gap Which Could Affect Cancer Patients

In In The Press, Industry News, Insurance by PCH Staff

The UK government’s plans to reduce the country’s deficit have meant that many public services have seen their budgets slashed or frozen over the last 12 months. One area where this is particularly evident is the NHS, whose budget for 2015 has been set at around £100 billion – protected from cuts but increased only by the rate of inflation.

A growing population and increased NHS pension costs mean that both the demand for its services and financial pressures are steadily rising. In fact, recent reports have suggested that the NHS faces a funding gap of £2 billion this financial year, which equates to two percent of its overall budget.

Cancer Care Provision Directly Impacted

One area that is being directly impacted by the NHS budget freeze is the provision of cancer care and lifesaving drugs for patients. Every year, an estimated 280,000 men, women and children in the UK are diagnosed with cancer and have to deal with the emotional, physical and financial hardships it brings. Furthermore, with the NHS recently announcing that it will be withdrawing funding for some 25 treatments, the situation is beginning to look even bleaker.

Individuals, including those with breast, prostate and bowel cancer, are among those who could be affected by this decision, which is part of the plans to scale back spending from April 2015.

In England and Wales it is the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) which determines state funding for cancer drugs. Its decisions are based on whether enough clinical evidence exists to justify the expense. However, it has come under fire in the past for being seen to make decisions based more on cost than on preventing people dying.

Cloudy Outlook

Many UK private medical insurance providers have expressed concern that whilst cancer treatment is available privately, it may not be so readily accessible on the NHS.

Each provider has a unique approach when it comes to the types of cancer treatments they will cover. The bottom line is that with NHS cancer provisions diminishing, individuals should leave nothing to chance in terms of their insurance cover. They should be seeking specialist advice to understand exactly what level of cancer cover they have from their insurance provider should the worst happen.

Insurance providers offer cancer cover to suit a range of budgets, either as a standalone benefit or as a feature rolled into their traditional PMI plans. Comprehensive private medical insurance allows you to have access to proven breakthrough cancer therapies, with some insurers having no limits on how long they are funded. This gives piece of mind to patients, by ensuring that they are getting the best possible care & that all eventualities are covered.

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