Forced budget cuts at the NHS lead to rationing
NHS managers are blocking hospital appointments for patients to save cash, a survey of family doctors has revealed, and at least one health trust proposes to stop sending obese people and smokers for routine hip and knee surgery because their unhealthy lifestyles lower the chance of the operations’ “success”.
With the health service asked to find an unprecedented £20bn efficiency savings over the next few years, many are resorting to moving procedures out of the NHS. In Kent hospital managers say abortions will now be provided by the charity Marie Stopes with hospitals only dealing with complicated cases. Last winter local GPs were asked to “stop referrals” for many procedures.
Health trusts are having to pare back costs in new ways. NHS North Yorkshire and York, the area’s primary care trust, is planning to stop patients who smoke, and those with a body mass index of more than 35, from having routine hip and knee operations.
The rules of economics apply to the English as well as to Americans. When the government needs to rein in costs in a regulated healthcare market, the inevitable result is rationing. Plain and simple.