A 31 page internal NHS document has highlighted a cost saving exercise to help bridge the £183 million funding gap for a number of hospitals in north-central London.
As reported by the Guardian, this document suggests Doctors affected will have less money to spend on medicine, refer less patients to hospital, and slash the support offered to those with severe needs. They are also looking to close some A&E and maternity units.
Ultimately, this will increase time for treatments and operations as the strain will be added elsewhere to already struggling associations, resulting in poor care:
“We recognise that these choices may be difficult for a number of reasons .. Options that impact on quality of care and options that would be difficult to implement.” (The Guardian)
The affected boroughs are reported to be Camden, Islington, Haringey, Barnet, and Enfield, with University College London and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital amongst the hospitals affected.
The leaked document has sparked outrage amongst NHS providers, with Saffron Cordery, Director of policy and strategy emphasising, “Some of the proposals could challenge fundamental expectations shared by NHS staff and the public about what the health service is there to provide. We cannot do that without a full and proper debate.”
Following on from the General Election, Labour are now stating that the cuts are due to the government not allocating the funds needed to do the job effectively.
Although there has been no final decision, the discussions may result in:
Patients waiting longer than 18 weeks for planned operations.
Higher care rationing.
Hospital units being restricted, or shut altogether.
Cuts to financial support currently given to those with long term health problems.
Limitations to treatment for those with musculoskeletal conditions.
Less money being fed into the Better Care Fund (a scheme designed to reduce pressure on hospitals).
Is this really the end of the NHS as we know it?