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Grey pound will pay extra for health costs


3 December, 2007  

More than half of over-50s would pay for drugs or treatments not available on the NHS, according to a survey from Saga.

In a Saga/Populus poll of 6000 people aged over 50, more than half (52 per cent) said they would pay out of their own pocket for treatments for conditions such as cancer if they were not available on the NHS because the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) had ruled they were not cost effective.

The findings came in advance of the publication of the Cancer Reform Strategy next week, and showed that the over 50s would be willing to pay on average around £1,500 a year for the drugs.

However, one in ten said they would pay more than £5,200 a year for treatments.

Other results included:

* One in six (15 per cent) of over 50s said they thought they had been denied NHS treatment on the basis of cost;

* Three quarters (81 per cent) would take a daily pill to prevent future diseases;

* Almost half (45 per cent) would pay out of their own pocket for preventive drugs at an average of £670 a year.

The findings reinforced recent studies showing unequal access to cancer drugs and treatments.

Saga Group Chief Executive Andrew Goodsell, said: “Today’s results provide food for thought for those considering the debate around the extent to which people should be able to contribute to the cost of their NHS treatment.

“We should remember that the over 50s include some of the most vulnerable members of society for whom paying extra for treatments is simply not an option.

“On a positive note, prevention is often better than cure and it is encouraging that the older generation is thinking about preventing future ill health.”

Saga Zone