Yes, we have to ration services. Don’t deny it, but accept and discuss how.

Haroon Siddique in the Guardian 25th August reports: NHS accused of keeping secret its plans to cut services

Campaigners say freedom of information requests to NHS trusts and government have been turned down

Yes, we have to ration services. Don’t deny it, but accept and discuss how. Unfortunately short term time horizons mean politicians work out that they will lose more votes in honesty than they win.

The NHS has been accused of keeping the public in the dark about controversial plans to plug a £250m funding gap by rationing services.

The crowdfunded campaign group 38 Degrees submitted freedom of information (FOI) requests to the government, NHS leaders as well as trusts and clinical commissioning groups in the 13 areas affected but all except two refused to release details of planned changes.

Leaked proposals from three areas have already revealed plans including downgrading or closing A&Es and extending waiting times for operations, and 38 Degrees says the public is entitled to know what else is in store…..

…The Guardian revealed in June the threat of closures and increased waiting times under proposals to save £183m across five London boroughs under the CEP programme. There is also concern that cancer treatment may be delayed if the NHS in Cheshire reduces the number of diagnostic endoscopies it undertakes by 25%, and that patients in east Surrey and Sussex may be denied angiograms and angioplasty surgery as part of the CEP savings drive.

An NHS England spokesman accused 38 Degrees of “a rehash of months-old claims”. He added: “The NHS has always had to live within the budget that parliament allocates, and the usual requirements for public consultation on any suggested major service reconfigurations of course continue to apply. However, it’s grossly unfair if a small number of areas in effect take more than their fair share at the expense of other people’s hospital services, GP care and mental health clinics elsewhere in the country.”

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This entry was posted in A Personal View, 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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