NHS

Doctors Beg For NHS Treatments

Rationing of services is leading Doctors to beg the NHS for vital treatments.

As reported by the Guardian today, in 2016-17, the British Medical Journal found that 73,927 requests were made by GPs on behalf of patients that had initially been denied treatment, 50% more than in 2013-14.

The results have sparked worry amongst healthcare professionals that the cutbacks are now stretching into patient care.

Amongst the requests submitted, mental health conditions were the sixth commonest. Although the NHS vowed to improve access to care, 1150 requests from health professionals still had to be submitted to get patients the care they needed.

Similarly, the number of Individual Funding Requests (IFRs) for hip and knee replacements across England rose from 49 to 899 last year:

“Hip and knee replacements are some of the most clinically effective and economical treatments available on the NHS. Unfortunately, patients needing hip and knee surgery have misguidedly become soft targets for NHS savings”, Stephen Cannon, Royal College of Surgeons (RCS).

Richard Vautrey, Deputy Chairman of the British Medical Association’s GP committee has said that “an open and honest” conversation is needed as different Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have different rules on treatments for patients:

“It’s clearly unfair for patients to be subjected to this postcode rationing, and it also adds further to GPs’ workloads as they are called on to provide more and more evidence to support each application.”

Some CCGs such as Stafford and Surrounds, receiving 2123, accept all requests, whereas some such as South Derbyshire, who received 14, accept none.

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour Shadow Health Secretary has said, “Underfunding and neglect of the health service is causing misery for patients and making it harder to access routine treatments on the NHS. Behind every one of these statistics is a patient and their family waiting longer in pain and suffering”.

Ruth Robertson from the Kings Fund states, “With financial pressures growing, we can only expect to see more of this. It is unrealistic to expect the NHS to maintain the current level of service, with the current budget, and so the government needs to either find more money for the NHS, or be honest with the public about what sort of healthcare is can expect in the future.”

Leaked Document Suggests Havoc To London Healthcare

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).
Job losses.

Is this really the end of the NHS as we know it?

 

 

 

Brexit NHS

Returning Brits Will Make NHS Costs Climb.

Post Brexit, retired Brits currently living in Europe will cost the NHS £500million if the current EU healthcare scheme ends.

As part of the S1 Scheme, there are currently 190,000 British retirees living in European countries getting their healthcare costs covered. If these Brits were to return to the UK, The Nuffield Trust has estimated their care would cost roughly £979million per year.

We currently contribute £500million, and so would therefore need roughly another £500million to settle the bill.

As reported in The Guardian, the report has stated that by 2025, there could be a shortage of 70,000 paid carers. Consequently, the cost of our exit from the EU will rise if nurses and care workers currently entering the UK from Europe, were no longer permitted; we would lose the migrants that work and pay taxes.

The report highlights that, “Every step should be taken to try to secure a deal that allows them to keep receiving care where they now live”. It indicates that to fulfil the shortfall to treat returning Brits, we’d need approximately 900 beds, and the healthcare staff to match.

This pressure will only add to the strain the NHS is currently under. According to the report, there are now roughly 22,000 migrant nurses working to fill the void the NHS presently has.

The Department of Health has estimated, by severing migration, by 2025 we will have lost 20,000 nurses. This will roughly double if we were to deport those already working here.

“The state of the NHS relies heavily on it being recognised as a significant priority as we enter some of the most important negotiations in Britain’s history” (Mark Dayan, Nuffield Trust).

“These figures are a stark reminder that with the NHS at breaking point, politicians must keep the health service and its patients at the forefront during Brexit negotiations and reduce the impact that leaving the EU will have on Health and Social Care across the UK” (Dr Mark Porter, BMA Council Chair).