Rationing NHS care: why we need a serious debate – NHS reality agrees – David Lock in the guardian

David Lock writes in The Guardian 4th April 2014: Rationing NHS care: why we need a serious debate – NHS reality agrees. Only after the honest debate on rationing begins will professionals become engaged again. Once we have honesty, we can then start to remove fear from speaking up…

Healthcare reform is urgently needed but politicians unwilling to make unpopular changes are wasting money, says David Lock

The NHS is not spending our tax money effectively. There is a wide professional consensus that too much is being spent on hospital buildings it cannot afford, and it is failing to reduce spending on drug treatments that do not work. But many local NHS leaders are too frightened to try and persuade the public of the case for change. Reforms are delayed for fear of upsetting politicians who seek re-election.

Rationing healthcare treatments to control costs is regarded as an explosive issue in politics. In America, congresswoman Michelle Bachmann stated that the idea of treatment cost being taken into account, and sometimes withheld due to financial reasons, would be a “horrific notion to our nation’s doctors”.

In contrast to this political rhetoric, in the law courts it is accepted that rationing is part of the healthcare business. The supreme court of the United States approved paying doctors to ration care, saying that there must be “some incentive connecting physician reward with treatment rationing”. In the UK, the court of appeal has similarly held that it is lawful for the NHS to ration access to healthcare. Political, not legal, constraints hold back NHS reform and the losers are vulnerable patients who don’t get the treatment they need, while money is wasted on hospitals that are not justifiable and services of marginal benefit.

Nigel Lawson observed that “the NHS is the closest thing the English have to a religion”. Yet, as with all religions, informed debate is clouded by myths………….

Read more from David Lock…

NHS fees are only way ‘to save service’ & Hospitals ‘bury the truth’ about poor patient care


This entry was posted in A Personal View, Community Health Councils, NHS managers, Patient representatives, Political Representatives and activists, 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.

1 thought on “Rationing NHS care: why we need a serious debate – NHS reality agrees – David Lock in the guardian

  1. Pingback: Mid Staffordshire NHS trust fined for ‘avoidable and tragic death’ – we may all need an advocate.. | NHS reality. An NHS soapbox. Speakers' corner for the NHS.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s