Residents to get access to UK NHS care at cheaper rates
Up to five Bermudian residents will be eligible for free medical treatment on the National Health Service in Britain from next month.
All Bermuda residents will also be able to get treatment on the NHS at much cheaper rates than previously, after a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Health and Whitehall.
Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, described the agreement, as “great news for Bermuda”.
Ms Wilson said: “It allows five treatment slots per fiscal year on NHS for Bermuda residents.
“Where the treatment cannot be provided or is not appropriate to be provided in Bermuda, eligible patients will be treated free of charge by the NHS, and the cost of treatment will be covered by the UK Government.
“I want to express my gratitude to the Deputy Governor, Tom Oppenheim, for his hard work and resilience in bringing this agreement to a conclusion.”
Ms Wilson pointed out that ancillary costs such as transportation and accommodation will be the responsibility of the patient and their insurers, while all referrals will have to be approved by the Chief Medical Officer.
Under the agreement, residents will also be able to get treatment in the UK at vastly reduced costs. At present, visitors and even non-resident British citizens have to pay up to three times the actual cost of a procedure charged to residents.
The NHS will scrap that mark-up under the agreement, which comes into effect on June 5.
Ayoola Oyinloye, the Chief Medical Officer, said that the deal could drive down costs for patients who have to travel overseas for treatment.
He said: “This arrangement is for necessary healthcare, and for any clinical and cost-effective treatment option not provided in Bermuda.
“Generally speaking, tariffs for healthcare and treatments are lower on the NHS than equivalent tariffs in the US.
“I am delighted to announce that an unlimited number of Bermuda-eligible persons may be referred to healthcare providers in the United Kingdom for a pre-authorised course of treatment, at 100 per cent of the NHS tariffs instead of the 150 per cent to 200 per cent obtainable in the past.
“This increases the options for affordable, high-quality healthcare services for Bermuda.”
Anyone legally resident in Bermuda will qualify for the free or reduced-rate treatment, regardless of nationality.
A government spokeswoman said: “A Bermuda eligible person means any person present in Bermuda at the time of the referral by the referring office, and who possesses Bermudian status, is the holder of a Permanent Resident’s Certificate, is naturalised as a British Overseas Territory Citizen (Bermuda), or is lawfully resident in Bermuda pursuant to a work permit.
“It isn’t possible to give an exclusive list. Examples of things we would look at would be long-term secure psychiatric care and organ transplantation.”
Dr Oyinloye added: “This referral for treatment should come from a specialist in the field and should be discussed with the Chief of Staff at Bermuda Hospitals Board, Dr Wesley Miller and me, initially.
“We aim to get the best value for Bermuda by carefully selecting the appropriate patients.”
A health ministry spokeswoman added that, although it was not possible to give a list of illnesses that would be suitable for treatment through the NHS, “examples of things we would look at would be long-term secure psychiatric care and organ transplantation”.
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