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Our Guardian latest: NHS group considers charges for crutches and neck braces

We have a story in the Guardian about the South Warwickshire CCG presenting 'tentative' proposals to consider charges for crutches and neck braces. Is this the beginning of the end for the free-at-the-point-of-use NHS?

The story says:

"Patients could be asked to pay for their own crutches, walking sticks and neck braces under proposals drawn up by an NHS organisation to introduce charges for services that are currently free.

"GPs in south Warwickshire have sparked controversy by examining how patients who are disabled or recovering from an accident or operation could be asked to contribute towards the cost of devices that are vital to their mobility.

"Critics said the proposals were "the thin end of the wedge" and could lead to patients being charged to access core NHS services, hitting disabled and poorer people hardest.

"If implemented, the proposals from the GP-led NHS South Warwickshire clinical commissioning group (CCG) could also affect patients suffering from whiplash, a hernia or sore hip or knee, or who have fractured their spine or who need help getting out of bed.

"Although many patients in England already pay for dental treatment, prescriptions, glasses and hearing aids, all basic NHS services are free. Ministers and NHS England have made clear that they are opposed to new charges for care."

Read the rest of the story here.


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