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NHS income cap review fast-tracked

Tuesday October 13th 2009

A review of the cap on private income that NHS foundation trusts are allowed to earn is to be fast-tracked by the Government, health minister Mike O'Brien has said.

Mr O'Brien told MPs the process will begin within a month, with new proposals presented to ministers in spring.

Under current arrangements, the high-performing trusts are limited to earning money from private patients with health cash plans at the same level they were in 2002-3, before the first bodies were awarded foundation status.

During debate on the Health Bill, Mr O'Brien said: "The Government is committed to maintaining and strengthening the protection of NHS services for NHS patients first, whilst allowing NHS foundation trusts to have a degree of flexibility to operate effectively in the best interests of patients and the community and in the context of evolving health policies.

"The Government is committed to a full review of the patient cap based upon these principles.

"We do want to ensure that the way in which any private money coming in to the health service is directed in the best interests of the patients and the NHS as a whole."

A legal challenge to the cap is currently before the courts, Mr O'Brien said.

"The Government is already committed to a full review of the cap following the conclusion of the judicial review of current legislation.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

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