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CAMHS won't see you now

'Charge for some NHS care'

Patients should be asked to pay for certain NHS treatments in order to ration care and help pay for improvements to services, a report by an influential health academic has concluded.

Professor Peter Smith, director of the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York, said patients should be provided with a core 'statutory package' of care, approved by NICE and paid for through taxes.

But charges should be levied on care that fell outside that package, he said.

In a report for the Social Market Foundation, Professor Smith wrote: 'It will take political courage to implement such explicit rationing, but the alternative may be steadily to reduce the scope and quality of the NHS by stealth.

'Although a daunting undertaking, NICE could in principle be given the expanded remit of recommending the entire scope of the publicly subsidised package.'

If treatment failed to meet NICE's cost-effectiveness criteria, patients could be asked to fund the difference out of their own pockets, Professor Smith added.

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