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NHS rationing widespread

25th September 2007

A survey of GPs and hospital doctors has suggested that rationing of NHS treatments is becoming more widespread.

Drugs & Money

The findings have emerged after Doctor magazine asked its readers about rationing.
Some 653 doctors answered questions on the consequences of rationing with 107 (16%) saying patients had died early as a result, with more than half of those who responded (349) saying patients had suffered.

Nine years ago, when a similar survey was carried out, only one in five said patients had suffered as a result of rationing.

Doctors say that more debate is needed over what should be rationed.

Respondents reported examples of not being allowed to prescribe drug treatments including smoking cessation drugs and anti-obesity treatment and that NHS trusts had been placing restrictions on fertility treatments, obesity surgery and minor operations.

Rationing has become an issue in the NHS with trust often forced to cut back on treatments due to financial deficits.

Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the British Medical Association’s GPs committee, said: “The NHS could spend whatever you gave it, but it obviously works with a limited budget so we urgently need to have a debate about what can be provided.?

The NHS Alliance, which represents NHS trusts, described rationing as “the great unspoken reality.?

The Department of Health said that finance was not endless, with hard decisions having to be made about which treatments to provide for patients.

But a spokesman stressed: “Doctors and nurses make these clinical decisions with patients - not managers or politicians.?


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Article Information

Title: NHS rationing widespread
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 4199
Date Added: 25th Sep 2007


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