EXCLUSIVE - NHS walk-in centre whiplash charges suspended
Date: 20/07/2012. Story submitted by: Kevin Meagher
Submitted by: Kevin Meagher
The private company running Sheffield’s NHS Walk-in Centre is dropping a controversial charge for treating whiplash patients - the Postcode Gazette can exclusively reveal.
One Medicare has been charging patients reporting to the walk-in centre on Broad Lane £25 to treat their whiplash injuries. The charge was brought to light by Postcode Gazette just over a week ago. The news then went national, with the Daily Mail picking up the story three days ago.
But NHS Sheffield says that although private doctors are entitled to charge for whiplash treatment, One Medicare, the company in question, has now “voluntarily suspended the policy” pending a meeting with NHS chiefs next week.
An NHS spokesman said: “In Sheffield we believe that healthcare should be free at the point of delivery for all our patients.”
Meanwhile, it has also emerged that the Accident and Emergency department at the Northern General Hospital does not operate any charging policy for whiplash.
One Medicare runs the walk-in centre service on a contract awarded by NHS Sheffield that runs up to 2016.
The move to axe the charge comes after a week of mounting pressure which saw the controversial policy criticised in the House of Commons by Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham.
This followed a warning from Labour MP for Sheffield Central, Paul Blomfield, who said the walk-in centre was “breaking the fundamental principle of the NHS - that treatment should be free at the point of use.”
His criticism was echoed by Labour and Lib Dem councillors in the city.
Sheffield’s Green Party Leader, Coun Jillian Creasy, herself a local GP, said that “putting services into the hands of private companies whose rationale is to make a profit, was always going to make this kind of thing more likely.”
Campaigners from Sheffield Save our NHS are planning a demonstration against charging for treatment outside the walk-in centre next week. It is not clear now whether that will still go ahead.
The link to our earlier story is below.
Address: Broad Lane Sheffield S1 4BS
Tags: nhs walk-in centre, andy burnham, paul blomfield, jillian creasey, one medicareTo comment, please sign-in or register.
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