Rising Mortality and Morbidity: Excess deaths in 2015 may be linked to failures in health and social care

Jean Gibney opines in WSWS 3rd March 2017: Rising mortality rates and rationing across the National Health Service

Image result for grim reaper cartoon

The slashing of funding over decades to the National Health Service (NHS) and social care by Labour and Conservative governments has led to increasing rationing of treatment.

Cuts and rationing of treatments are thought to be linked to thousands of preventable deaths across England and Wales, according to a joint study by Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Oxford University and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. (Excess deaths in 2015 may be linked to failures in health and social care )

The report examined statistics from January 2006 up to December 2015 and found that during that period increases in mortality clearly coincided with financial cuts to the NHS and social care. The report found there were 30,000 excess deaths in 2015 in England and Wales and that these were likely associated with NHS and social care cuts…..

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are reducing funding for surgical procedures such as cataracts, hip and knee replacements. Patients needing hip and knee procedures are being refused surgery on the basis they are not completely immobile.

In the West Midlands area of England, three CCGs proposed reducing the number of hip replacements by 12 percent and knee replacements by 19 percent. Only those patients who are suffering constant excruciating pain—which prevents sleep and have extremely limited mobility—will be eligible for surgery under the proposals to cut the numbers of surgical procedures.

The rationing of treatment cuts across all age groups, with child health also affected. A 2014 study by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), “Is Access to Surgery A Postcode Lottery?” found that some CCGs issued guidelines—which made patients including children wait 18 months under the “watchful waiting period”—for a tonsillectomy. The report found that patients had to provide documented evidence that tonsillitis had caused them time off school or work before being considered for surgery…..

The situation is set to worsen as figures released by the government revealed that NHS spending per head of population would decline by 0.6 percent in the years 2018/19. The figures and predictions of low growth for 2019/20 fly in the face of Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May’s claims that an “extra £10 billion is being invested in the NHS.”…

The introduction of “Sustainability and Transformation Plans” (STPs) to impose these cuts via health trusts nationally is the final nail in the coffin of the NHS. Some £26 billion worth of cuts are set to be implemented under the STPs by 2020, with plans being drawn up for the mass closure of hospitals, wards, accident and emergency departments and staff cuts.

Rationing care is a fact of life for the NHS | Healthcare …

NHS to ‘extend rationing‘ of healthcare in bid to balance …

Key NHS operations ‘being rationed’ – BBC News

NHS rationing: hip-replacement patients needlessly …

NHS ‘rationing‘: The most vulnerable patients are paying …

Nine out of 10 NHS Trusts are ‘rationing operations

Rationing in the NHS | The Nuffield Trust


This entry was posted in A Personal View, Commissioning, 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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