Tuesday 29 November 2022 01:15 PM How NHS spends millions on treating patients ABROAD trends now
The ailing NHS is paying millions for patients to get treated overseas, figures show.
Taxpayers are footing the bill for women wanting to give birth abroad as well as for routine hip and knee ops.
Data obtained by MailOnline shows more than £4million was spent on NHS-funded surgery overseas over the last three years.
Some of this, campaigners believe, will likely be to dodge months-long queues for care, with the backlog sitting at an all time high.
Others are opting to give birth closer to European family or in their country of preference.
The NHS has sent over 5,000 Britons overseas for treatment since 2019 figures obtained by MailOnline show
Most of the overseas procedures approved by the NHS were actually for Britons to give birth in Europe
Official figures show 7.1million people in England were in the queue for routine hospital treatment, such as hip and knee operations, by the end of September — the equivalent of one in eight people (red line). The figure includes more than 400,000 people who have been waiting, often in pain, for over one year (yellow bars)
The NHS has ringfenced £1.3billion to cover Covid compensation pay-outs, it was claimed today.
An annual report from NHS Resolution, the organisation which handles negligence disputes on behalf of the health service, anticipates a surge in claims for treatment delays, cancellations and misdiagnoses.
Families are already contacting law firms to seek compensation after losing loved ones during the pandemic.
Campaigners have also warned that the figure 'may not be enough'.
Jackie Linehan, legal director at negligence specialists Enable Law, represents the family of a man who died in June 2020 after his urgent heart surgery was delayed for several months.
She told the Daily Telegraph: 'We anticipate the number of claims relating to deaths and avoidable injuries to increase because of the delays in treatment throughout 2020 and 2021.
'A lot of individuals are only just realising the consequences of not being seen much sooner.'
Locations where NHS-funded procedures has taken place since 2019 include Belgium, Bulgaria, Poland, France and Spain.
The NHS funds patients to get treated abroad through an EU-backed programme — despite Britain no longer being in the bloc.
In total, 5,294 patients from across Britain have received planned taxpayer-funded treatment in Europe since 2019.
Most of the applications (almost 4,700) were for maternity care, specifically to give birth overseas.
The majority of the other procedures were not named, although it is known that hip and knee surgeries are among the number.
However, two were for bone replacements, seven for cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, three for heart conditions, and seven listed as 'general surgery'.
To be eligible for S2 funding, applicants must be a UK resident, the treatment must normally be available on the NHS, and a British or European clinician must state why the treatment is needed within a certain time period.
If this time period is outside of the NHS's ability to provide, the treatment can then be funded by the taxpayer overseas.
Application approvals take about 20 days, after which the treatment can be provided as if the Briton was a citizen of that nation.
The NHS warns this can mean that patient may need to pay 25 per cent of the cost of the operation, depending on the country, with the remainder being funded by the state, in this case the UK.
Additional other costs such as flights, hotels, and accommodation are not paid for.
Approvals are granted by the individual NHS bodies of each UK nation, then sent to NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) who release the funds.
The system works differently when it comes to having a planned birth overseas,