West Suffolk: Hospital made more than £200k from self-funded patients

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- Credit: PA

HOSPITAL bosses have denied that well-heeled patients are being allowed to jump the queue for treatment after new figures revealed the trust received more than £200,000 from ‘self-funding’ individuals.

Under the system, which is available at many UK hospitals, patients who are not eligible for certain types of care can pay for a wide range of non-emergency treatments, from bone scans to the removal of urinary tract stones.

The treatment is described as self-funded rather than private, as the care provided is the same as on the NHS and is paid for by the individual rather than by insurance.

According to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act, 716 bills have been raised over the last three years, generating an income of £210,568.

The highest amount came in 2012 to 2013 when £77,746 was made through self-funding patients, compared to £70,390 in 2010 to 2011.

Papers on West Suffolk Hospital’s website state that the full cost of treatment for self-funding patients – or private patients who cannot provide insurance documents – should pay the anticipated cost of treatment in full before admission.

It adds that people can pay over the phone with credit cards. Should the cost of the procedure be different to the estimate “over or underpayment will be rectified following discharge.”

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Over the last three years, the hospital has carried out more than 100 different in-patient and out-patient procedures for self-funding patients.

The hospital has carried out X-rays, MRI scans, complex radiology treatments and mammograms under the scheme.

There is no price list on West Suffolk’s website but at other hospitals, prices are competitive with private clinics. One East London hospital advertises fertility treatments, such as IVF, for £2,450 – roughly two-thirds of the price charged in private.

In the west of the country bone scans – used to test bone strength – are priced at £72 rather than up to £200 in private clinics.

A spokeswoman for West Suffolk Hospital said:“The figures given in the FOI request relate to self-funding patients treated at West Suffolk Hospital.

“Private patients are funded via insurance. Self-funding patients do not have the insurance, but choose to pay.”

She added: “NHS procedures will always take priority over self-funding patients.

“The monies received are used by the hospital for the care and treatment of patients.”

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