Two of the government’s top health and work advisers believe the merits of prioritising NHS treatment for working people need to be seriously discussed.
The Department of Health (DoH) and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) advisers acknowledged that one of the problems with returning people to work quickly was long NHS waiting lists causing delays in accessing treatment.
DoH expert adviser on health and work Professor Dame Carol Black suggested that a national debate needed to be held on the subject.
She agreed this would take the discussion around health and work into a "totally different space" but noted that working had many wide ranging benefits.
"I personally think we should perhaps be more honest and debate more fully if we would prioritise such patients if it was a question of getting them back to work," she said.
"We do prioritise certain conditions, absolutely we do, and of course we always said it was perfectly reasonable to prioritise cancer. But we have never had the really serious discussion of if this is about people's lives, their families, society and the economy, is there a case (you may say no) to say we should think in terms of prioritisation?”
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