NHS plan to give patients itemised 'bills' is outrageous, Hull campaigners say
HEALTH campaigners have criticised plans to give hospital patients breakdowns of how much their treatment has cost the NHS.
Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust said the move would encourage patients to "value" and "appreciate" the service, as well as raise awareness of how much tests, procedures and visits cost.
Trust chief executive Phil Morley said some people attend the accident and emergency (A&E) department at Hull Royal Infirmary, requesting painkillers for a headache.
He said the visit costs £150 but the painkillers could have cost pennies.
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Now, campaigners say they believe the cost breakdowns could deter patients from attending hospital.
Dermot Rathbone, 44, who is secretary of the Save Our NHS Hull and East Yorkshire group, suffers from a degenerative brain condition called cerebellar ataxia and needs ongoing treatment.
He said: "It's outrageous.
"I understand Mr Morley is under pressure with cutbacks but this won't help.
"People who play the system are hardened to it and this isn't targeting the right people.
"The people who do this display a lack of regard for other people anyway, so it won't have any effect.
"It's allowing people who are doing wrong to set the agenda for the rest of us."
The trust, which runs Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham, is under pressure to save £99m. The efficiency savings have to be made by 2018 and include ward closures and bed losses.
Mr Rathbone, of Kirk Ella, said the breakdown of costs could cause added stress.
He said: "This is the last thing you want to be presented with and think about.
"I know my treatment costs a lot of money. But you don't want that on your mind when you go into hospital."
Mr Morley said he wants to remind people how "precious" the NHS is and he believes people will be shocked by the costs.
This includes £500 for a bag of blood and between £6,000 and £10,000 for a hip operation.
Mr Morley said he doesn't want people to see the move, which is to be discussed by hospital officials, as a "disincentive" for attending hospital but wants people to "make the best use" of the NHS.
Danny Marten, chairman of Save Our NHS Hull and East Yorkshire group, said: "We are worried people will be made to feel guilty for using the NHS.
"Older people especially are very conscientious about money and may feel they are being a burden, or do not feel they are 'worth it'.
"This may be especially true for vulnerable patients with mental health issues."
The trust declined to comment on the criticisms.
But last week, Mr Morley told the Mail: "This isn't about changing people, it's about a being conscious.
"If that care could have been given somewhere that is just as good but cheaper, is hospital the right place to be?
"We want people to be aware of the valuable resources we have and use them more wisely."