NHS pays for private treatment abroad


A woman has won a three-year legal battle to force her local NHS Health Trust to pay for her private treatment abroad.

The payment, made to Ann Belshaw of Suffolk, looks set to form a precedent which could lead to a growth in the demand for medical tourism from the UK.

According to a report in the Cambridge News, Mrs Belshaw's ordeal started when she was told by Suffolk Primary Care Trust that she would have to wait a year for a scan on her back at the Addenbrooke Hospital.

Not satisfied, Mrs Belshaw then flew to a private clinic in Germany for a £350 scan, for which she then attempted to claim the cash back from the NHS - thus forming the basis of a four year legal case.

The Trust has finally agreed to pay Mrs Belshaw's legal costs, just as the the case was to go before London's High Court.

An elated Mrs Belshaw said: "It's the principle of the thing and whether the NHS can dictate when and where you can have treatment. I hope this set a precedent for other people."

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