Even the UN is asking UK Politicians for honesty on rationing, health strategy and planning

On 29th May 2015 The Telegraph published: The UN’s suggestion that Britain ration health care is a wake-up callNHSreality feels that the Telegraph interpretation is unjust…the UN are merely asking for honesty and reality.. The staff know this is the truth as well ( Telegraph Letters 30th July 2015: Demoralised NHS staff lack the resources that are vital for reform – Government’s attitude needs to change). Even the UN is asking UK Politicians for honesty on rationing, health strategy and planning..

A group of academics have rightly warned that the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals discriminate against the elderly. Its targets imply that resources allocated to conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease should be focused on those aged 69 or younger – a variety of rationing that one expert labels “highly unethical”. Indeed, health care should not come down to a battle between the generations. Everyone deserves proper medical treatment regardless of age, and being afforded dignity in one’s later years is a mark of a civilised society.

However, the debate over these health targets highlights aspects of public policy that need urgent review. Britons are living longer – a good change but an expensive one. Within two decades, one in 10 people in this country will be over 85. This means more costs in terms of care. The problem is already apparent in overcrowded hospital wards.

Britain needs a serious, honest debate about the NHS’s priorities, structure and finances. Part of the solution will be shifting resources away from hospitals and emergency care and towards services such as GP surgeries. Greater competition in the delivery of those services should help raise efficiency. Steps have to be taken to ensure that individuals have decent private pensions and savings to invest in high-quality care. Preparation for old age can also mean leading a healthy lifestyle earlier on, to avoid the kinds of problems that can put someone in hospital.

The challenges are huge, but the Government should face them none the less. Now that it has a majority, it has the chance to review how the NHS works, and effect change. Britain’s approach to health care needs reform if it is to serve future generations generously and without discrimination.

This entry was posted in A Personal View, 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.

2 thoughts on “Even the UN is asking UK Politicians for honesty on rationing, health strategy and planning

  1. Pingback: A definition of “rationing”, a Freedom of Information request, and a financial and political storm brewing.. Denial continues.. | NHS reality. An NHS soapbox. Speakers' corner for the NHS.

  2. Pingback: Perverse behaviours – and perverse incentives. This is partly what drives doctors away… | NHS reality. An NHS soapbox. Speakers' corner for the NHS.

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