More health insurance policyholders may be treated by NHS

From October 2012, NHS hospitals will be able to earn up to almost half their income from treating patients with private health insurance. The move comes at a time when many NHS trusts are running up large deficits and face bankruptcy, and is expected to help them to balance the books and continue to operate.

Supporters believe the move will not only improve the quality of care at NHS hospitals, but also allow the NHS to access cutting edge treatments that had sometimes been unavailable on cost grounds, leading to better results for the service as a whole.

However, critics argue that the move is a stepping stone to what is believed to be a long-standing goal of the Conservatives, that being the privatisation of the NHS, and will damage the care provided to NHS patients that do not have private health insurance.

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