The Telegraph reports that a patient has been blocked from an operation after paying to see a consultant. The patient said:
she only paid for the private consultation at Airedale Hospital because she faced a six-month wait to see the specialist
So is this a problem with the policy of not allowing top-up payments or mixing private consultations with NHS treatment or is this in fact a problem created by the system?
If the patient had felt that she was getting treated in a timely manner she would not have felt she needed to have the private consultation. Now she has to go round the whole NHS route, potentially with her condition worsened. So the NHS has to spend the same amount of money as it would have, probably more, to treat her as it would have if it had given the care she needed months ago.
The policy probably need changing, but if you remove the need for private consultations by quicker treatment, the policy quirk may become irrelevant.