NHS hip operations and hysterectomies being RATIONED to save money, say family doctors (but covertly)

Alix Culbertson in The Express July 30th 2015 reports: NHS hip operations and hysterectomies being RATIONED to save money, say family doctors

Since there is no admission and this remains “unspoken” and post coded it is covert.

Funding Black Hole NHS

More than a third of GPs say the limiting of specialist treatments has increased since last year, a survey by GP magazine Pulse has revealed.

Doctors are now facing tighter restrictions on referring patients for specialist care, such as knee and hip operations, and are also having to deal with caps on the number of hysterectomies and the issuing of hearing aids, the research found.

The magazine said a total of 19 out of more than 200 NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) – which organise and pay for the majority of health services in local areaa – were ordered by NHS England to cut their budgets to help the health service make £22 billion in savings by 2020.

Among the CCGs which have adopted restrictions are NHS Basildon and Brentwood, which capped the number of vasectomy referrals GP practices can make, and NHS Mid Essex, which has a “restriction policy” on acupuncture, spinal injections and hip and knee operations during 2015/16.According to Pulse, those with mild hearing loss in the NHS North Staffordshire area will no longer be provided with hearing aids, which campaigners have labelled as “cruel”.

Two CCGs, NHS Luton and NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, require smokers to give up cigarettes and obese patients to lose weight before being referred for hip and knee replacement surgery.

And NHS North East Essex – which faces a £22m funding shortfall – is restricting vasectomies, female sterilisation and spinal physiotherapy.

Dr Gary Sweeney, chair of North East Essex, told the magazine: “We have no choice other than to stay within budget.

“If we do not implement these decisions we will have to select other services to restrict.”

Dr James Kingsland, president of the National Association of Primary Care, called the policies “unacceptable” but Dr Michael Dixon, chairman of NHS watchdog, NHS alliance, said CCGs “are caught between a rock and a hard place”.

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the General Practioners Committee, said financial pressure is often hidden.

He added: “Where patients may have waited three months, they now wait six – this sort of thing is difficult to measure.

“Until we get new funding into the NHS we will continue to come under financial pressure and it will get worse.”

The survey asked family doctors if additional restrictions had been placed on their CCG in the last 12 months, with 36 per cent answering “yes”, 42 per cent responding “no” and a further 22 per cent saying they did not know.

Research by the King’s Fund think-tank found operations carried out as day surgery, as opposed to staying overnight, had saved the NHS about £2 billion.

Was you vote obtained under false pretences? All main political parties’ pledges for NHS will prove inadequate, says former chief executive. Only the Lib Dems can bring us to our senses..08993-images12

Saving the NHS – Political parties are in denial over how to fund the growing pressure on the health service. We need an honest debate about new means of paying for it
Saving the NHS – Political parties are in denial over how to fund the growing pressure on the health service. We need an honest debate about new means of paying for it
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This entry was posted in A Personal View, Commissioning, General Practitioners, NHS managers, Rationing 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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