NHS excluding poor people, UK
Research by the National Consumer Council into the ten million people in Britain living below the poverty line said that an over-emphasis on waiting lists has worsened the health equality gap between rich and poor.
The study also found charges for treatment are inconsistent and warned there is no clarity about which services should be at the core of the NHS and therefore provided free.
\"It is no longer true to say that people\'s access to a comprehensive range of healthcare is based on clinical need, rather than how much they can afford,\" it said.
\"The NHS is being undermined by a charging system that lacks clarity and, as a result, bars the very people it should open its doors to.\"
The NCC has now called for the government to set up a Core Services Commission to consult with health professionals and the public to decide what core NHS services are and to ensure they are properly funded.
Health literacy must also be improved and assessed and the NHS must set up effective structures for patient involvement, the report said.
The NCC is setting up a Public Service Users\' Forum later this year to bring together consumer interest and public service user groups to discuss key issues and innovative practice.
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