STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

Private healthcare companies accused of using tax relief to undercut the NHS

Private healthcare companies have been accused of getting unfair tax relief when competing with the NHS to provide treatments such as chemotherapy for patients at home. NHS Trusts are increasingly trying to treat patients in their own homes, rather than making them travel to hospitals. The service is often provided by private companies working under contract to the NHS, rather than directly by NHS nurses and carers. The government argues that private firms may be able to do this cheaper than the NHS. But it has now emerged that the competition appears skewed because, while private firms can recover the 20 per cent VAT they incur on purchasing drugs, the NHS cannot. That means the private provider’s service can appear many thousands of pounds cheaper than NHS provision when bidding for contracts.

The accusations will give fresh fuel to critics who claim there is an inherent bias in government policy towards favouring privatisation of large swathes of the health service. The difference VAT makes can be substantial, as a document on Bupa’s website entitled “Economic Attractiveness: home chemotherapy” illustrates. This shows Bupa saves £244 for each infusion of Herceptin due to its “nil” VAT status. As the Bupa document says, after other overheads, “for a cohort of 50 patients an annual saving of £187,000 can be made”.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/private-healthcare-companies-accused-of-using-tax-relief-to-undercut-the-nhs-10251549.html

Chemo-Getty

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