Big Time Rationing of UK Health Care: Secret Plans Cut Even BasicsSubmitted by SteveMT on Sun, 07/25/2010 - 13:54
Read all about it. This will be Amerika's future health care system.
Axe falls on NHS services: NHS bosses have drawn up secret plans for sweeping cuts to services, with restrictions on the most basic treatments for the sick and injured.
By Laura Donnelly, Health Correspondent
Telegraph, 24 Jul 2010
Some of the most common operations — including hip replacements and cataract surgery — will be rationed as part of attempts to save billions of pounds, despite government promises that front-line services would be protected.
Patients’ groups have described the measures as “astonishingly brutal”.
An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has uncovered widespread cuts planned across the NHS, many of which have already been agreed by senior health service officials. They include:
* Restrictions on some of the most basic and common operations, including hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery and orthodontic procedures.
* Plans to cut hundreds of thousands of pounds from budgets for the terminally ill, with dying cancer patients to be told to manage their own symptoms if their condition worsens at evenings or weekends.
* The closure of nursing homes for the elderly.
* A reduction in acute hospital beds, including those for the mentally ill, with targets to discourage GPs from sending patients to hospitals and reduce the number of people using accident and emergency departments.
* Tighter rationing of NHS funding for IVF treatment, and for surgery for obesity.
* Thousands of job losses at NHS hospitals, including 500 staff to go at a trust where cancer patients recently suffered delays in diagnosis and treatment because of staff shortages.
* Cost-cutting programs in pediatric and maternity services, care of the elderly and services that provide respite breaks to long-term carers.
The Sunday Telegraph found the details of hundreds of cuts buried in obscure appendices to lengthy policy and strategy documents published by trusts. In most cases, local communities appear to be unaware of the plans.
Dr Peter Carter, the head of the Royal College of Nursing, said he was “incredibly worried” about the disclosures.
Katherine Murphy, of the Patients Association, said the cuts were “astonishingly brutal” and expressed particular concern at moves to ration operations such as hip and knee operations.
“These are not unusual procedures, this is a really blatant attempt to save money by leaving people in pain,” she said.
“Looking at these kinds of cuts, which trusts have drawn up in such secrecy, it particularly worries me how far they disadvantage the elderly and the vulnerable.
‘‘We cannot return to the days of people waiting in pain for years for a hip operation or having to pay for operations privately.”
She added that it was “incredibly cruel” to draw up savings plans based on denying care to the dying.
Doctors across the county have already been told that their patients can have the operations only if they are given “prior approval” by the PCT, with each authorization made on a “case by case” basis.