Travel to India for a hip replacement - send the bill to the NHS?


An Edinburgh man has just flown back from India where he had a hip operation at a fraction of the cost of private treatment in Scotland.

Stuart Shaw, 69, travelled to India to undergo an operation on his hip. The cost came in at less than £4000, which is about half the price of the same operation in a UK private hospital.

And plan for greater cross-border mobility for treatment seekers could see the NHS footing the bill for such operations in the not too distant future.

A consultation paper on a Patients' Rights Bill is due to be launched this week and a key measure of the right to free treatment abroad when hospitals miss their waiting time targets.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon wants to let patients have more influence over their treatment and give health boards more incentive to meet waiting time targets. 

Health systems in other countries, including Norway, already have patients' rights enshrined in law and the SNP believes Scotland should follow this example.

Scotland already has an NHS Patients' Charter, which guarantees access to personal information, gives patients the right to see a GP and allows inpiduals the right to decide whether to participate in medical research.

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