French hospitals to deliver NHS cataract operations

South Kent Coast clinical commissioning group has accepted a bid from French health providers to offer NHS services by the end of the year

14 Sep 2015 by Ryan O'Hare

Patients in the south east of England awaiting cataract operations may be able to receive NHS treatment in France.

Details emerged last week (8 September) of elective care contracts for South Kent Coast clinical commissioning group (CCG), which could see hospitals in Calais treating NHS patients from the end of the year.

Under the deal, which is reported to be in the final stages, patients from South Kent Coast could choose to travel to hospitals in Calais for treatment. However, only the cost of treatment would be covered and patients would be required to pay their own travel expenses.

A spokesperson from South Kent Coast said that the CCG had invited organisations to bid for contracts to deliver health services to patients in the area. The list of services included cataract and general surgery, gynaecology, pain management and orthopaedics.

Two French providers also entered bids, along with a number of English service providers.

Hazel Carpenter, accountable officer for the CCG, said: “We carried out a careful assessment of the services they offer and are visiting the sites. The two French providers, among others, fulfilled our criteria and we expect to finalise a contract with them.

“It will then be possible for patients who need this treatment to choose to have it in France if they wish, after discussion with their GPs. The NHS will pay for their medical treatment but patients will pay their own travel and other incidental costs.

“It is purely a matter of choice and we will be very interested to see how many people take it up and what feedback they give us.”

The CCG did not provide comment as to whether other eye care services would be affected. According to the BBC, the French hospital aims to treat up to 400 NHS patients a year, with the first expected to be seen by late December.


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