NHS cuts responsible for longer waiting times
23 May 2012
With the NHS scrabbling to make £20bn of savings on services by 2015, health experts at the British Medical Association’s annual GP conference highlight that patients are being made to suffer unnecessarily while waiting for routine procedures.
As many minor, but common treatments are being done away with entirely, patients requiring necessary knee and hip replacements are being made to wait even longer to receive surgery.
While the government has continually attempted to reassure the nation that front line services will not be affected by the NHS spending cuts, GP’s have challenged Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s belief that GPs have an “ethical duty” to assist the NHS in cutting costs.
GPs instead insist that their primary moral, ethical and professional duty is, and always has been, to their patients whose care they are responsible for.
At the conference, GPs have voiced concerns that there are not only problems with waiting times and quality of care being caused by the pressure to cut costs, but that one of the main propositions of the NHS, that it is free at the point of access, is now also misleading to the general public.
As the number of “less essential” treatments, such as fertility treatment and varicose vein removal are being cut or rationed, there are growing variations in the types and qualities of treatments that can be offered between different districts.
The unnecessary suffering of patients, coupled with unreasonable waiting lists for less urgent treatments has put the issue of charging patients for treatments which are currently less, or entirely unavailable, back on the agenda.
Source: Follow Health, May 2012
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