Select Committee on Health Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 900 - 903)



  900. Can I just ask, will it not be more difficult for the NHS in terms of follow up —
  (Mr Huntley) No.

  901.—where patients have been treated in Dusseldorf?
  (Mr Huntley) The issue is about ensuring that we deliver complete packages of care. Therefore, we have to look at it from pre-op all the way through post-op through to follow up through rehabilitation to ensure we deliver a service or to ensure that the service which is purchased on behalf of the patient delivers the full care that is required for that patient. The reference costs are difficult to compare because if one takes a hip and knee replacement, for example, that hip and knee replacement includes pre-op, the operation, the post-op and rehabilitation. The current reference prices we have had for individual treatments—and we have not gone into bulk purchase yet—in terms of individual treatments, the reference prices compare favourably with the average private sector price for a single operation, that would include travel and it would include full rehabilitation. In terms of NHS reference prices, they are slightly higher but there are some additional costs to add on to the European costs.

  902. You raised the question of travel costs, I was going to mention that as part of the package. Presumably your package there is one where the follow up is short and immediate. Surely many conditions require a continued follow up, not just a question of a couple of days rehab and out?
  (Mr Huntley) No, if we are talking hips and knees, the general practice within Europe is that the patients are operated upon, they do an acute phase of rehabilitation within the hospital of between eight and 12 days, depending on the procedure. Then they go between 14 and 28 days to a rehabilitation centre for up to three or four hours of intensive physio daily, one to one, so they are fit to go home and they require no additional follow up after that period of time.

  903. How many hips, for example, do require further invention after a short while and do they go back to Dusseldorf?
  (Mr Huntley) I am not a medical man and therefore I cannot answer that question.

  Chairman: Are there any more general points on this part of the morning's session? If not, can I thank you for your co-operation, gentlemen. We are most grateful for your evidence.

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