NHS patients ‘face more treatment rationing since coalition restructuring’

Denis Campbell, Health correspondent  for the Guardian 31st March 2014 reports: NHS patients ‘face more treatment rationing since coalition restructuring’

Doctors say restrictions on access to healthcare have increased since creation of NHS clinical commissioning groups

Patients are facing growing rationing of treatments such as counselling, cataract removal and IVF since the coalition restructured the NHS last year, GPs say.

In a survey of 315 family doctors, GP magazine found that 71% believed that restrictions on access to treatment in their area had increased since April 2013, when the controversial shake-up of the NHS in England began.

That led to the creation of 211 GP-led clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), which control the budget for healthcare in an area and decide who can receive what treatment. GPs said patients were encountering growing difficulty in receiving care from community nurses, counselling, cataract surgery and fertility treatment. Rationing has increased significantly in the past nine months, doctors responding to the survey said.

One family doctor, a partner in a surgery, told the magazine: “We have huge cost pressures and this is resulting in increased rationing and fragmentation of services to reduce costs.”

However, access to weight-loss surgery has improved, although patients can face what Dr David Haslam, a GP and chair of the National Obesity Forum, called a “torturous” path to getting it. And some obese patients are expected to attend weight-loss programmes for at least a year before they will be considered for surgery.

Some CCGs aim to scrap rationing policies inherited from their predecessor primary care trusts once their finances are in the black. For example, six which have previously refused to offer women IVF treatment as recommended by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence hope to start doing so…….”

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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