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Patients will pay for end to private medical services, says BMA

Isle of Man Douglas
The Isle of Man

Patients and the NHS will pay the price for a decision to end the provision of private medical services on the Isle of Man, the BMA has warned.

Private medical services at the island’s Noble's Hospital were suspended back in January, as part of wider efforts to overhaul the island’s medical services.

As a result new referrals to consultants providing surgical treatment on a private basis was halted.

Opposing the decision at the time, the BMA warned that restricting services would see patients, many of them older, being forced to travel to the UK to seek treatment on the NHS, in turn putting greater pressure on the health service.

The association has criticised the manner in which the closure of services was carried out, arguing that the decision was taken without meaningful engagement with the island’s medical workforce.

In a letter to the island’s minister for health and social care David Ashford, BMA private practice committee chair Shree Datta said that she had huge concerns with how the decision to close off access to services was taken.

She said: ‘We have grave concerns about the decision to suspend private medical services, given the impact this will have on patients in the Isle of Man. Having spoken to BMA members affected, we know that a significant number of patients are affected.

‘Furthermore, this announcement was done without meaningful consultation with key stakeholders including the 40 consultants directly affected and there are no alternative plans set for these patients.’

She added: ‘We are also concerned that NHS waiting lists (both outpatient and elective surgery) will inevitably become longer as patients who are denied access to locally provided private care transfer back to the NHS for treatment.’

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