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Health Insight August 2002: Overseas treatment fails to impress

  Managers and clinicians involved in the overseas treatment pilots were far less happy with the schemes than the patients who used them, according to a report published by the Department of Health. The report studied the treatment of NHS patients earlier this year in French and German hospitals. The pilot schemes, run by three UK health authorities, were originally designed to treat 300 patients, but just 190 were actually treated: 153 hip or knee patients and thirty-seven cataract patients. Four out of five patients were ‘very satisfied’ with their overseas care. There were few medical complications and the clinical standards were deemed to be high by those who took part. But interviews with the managers and clinicians involved found the £1.1 million pilots funded by the Department of Health were ‘not very successful’ in either creating capacity or having a significant impact on waiting lists and waiting times. ‘There was a strong view that resources should have been invested locally and that the projects were not cost effective,’ the report said. It blamed poor ‘buy in’ from local NHS GPs and consultants, lack of funding and a ‘conservative approach’ when deciding which patients would be suitable for treatment.

Source: Health Service Journal 15th August


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