- Conservative election poster 2010
A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
Doctors call for end to NHS postcode ‘injustice’
By Terri Judd
The injustice of a postcode lottery for medical treatment must end, doctors said yesterday as they began their annual conference.
In a series of heated debates they decried the financial constraints that were affecting patient care. To a standing ovation, British Medical Association (BMA) chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said the NHS was facing the most difficult financial situation of its 63 year history and urged health chiefs not to “slash and burn” to save money.
London GP Chaand Nagpaul said he found it “shameful” that some seriously ill patients had to consider moving home to get treatment unavailable in their area, adding there were were huge variations “entirely dictated by where they live”.
His own Primary Care Trust, he explained, had a list of 85 low priority treatments. He could only refer hernia patients for operations if they were in significant pain, people with cataracts if their vision was impaired enough or those needing hip or knee replacements according to how much their mobility was affected.
“No patient should ever have to endure the injustice of having their treatment denied simply based on their post code,” he said. “The criteria for these are often subjective, adding to the lottery effect.” Doctors in his surgery, were trying to “find a way around” the restrictions so they could continue to refer patients strictly on clinical judgment, he explained.
“For knee and hip replacements, these are people who have significantly impaired mobility. They are elderly and it could make a difference between going to the shops or being housebound. It is hard to argue that anyone who has a clinical need for a hip replacement should be restricted,” said Dr Napaul.
Surgeon, Ian McNab added that there were too many examples of patients being deemed low priority because of incorrectly interpreted evidence and a danger some could suffer permanent damage if they were not referred swiftly enough. “We must ensure that PCTs and their successors understand the consequences of their decisions and take responsibility,” said Mr McNab.
Spending on social care for the elderly has been cut by more than £600 million this year, potentially putting lives at risk, charity Age UK said today.
Research by Age UK suggested older people’s care budgets had been slashed by a “devastating” 8.4 per cent as the government’s spending cuts bite.
This is despite a government pledge that more money would be invested in social care.
The figures were based on data obtained from councils under the Freedom of Information Act.
After 139 authorities responded, Age UK calculated that net expenditure on older people’s social care was falling by £610m in 2011/12 compared with 2010/11.
The charity also found that at least 61 councils were raising charges for services like home help and day care centres.
Age UK charity director Michelle Mitchell said: “Funding for social care is already inadequate and the system today is failing many older people at the time when they really need help.
“The consequences of cutting expenditure further to 8.4 per cent, indicated by our research, could be devastating.
“We are fearful that even more vulnerable older people will be left to struggle alone and in some cases lives will be put at risk.”
27/11/13 Having received a takedown notice from the Independent newspaper for a different posting, I have reviewed this article which links to an article at the Independent’s website in order to attempt to ensure conformance with copyright laws.
I consider this posting to comply with copyright laws since
a. Only a small portion of the original article has been quoted satisfying the fair use criteria, and / or
b. This posting satisfies the requirements of a derivative work.
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