The Guardian reports that the cost of the Con-Dems’ assault on the NHS is rising at almost £1m a day.
Many operations are routinely refused because of cuts. This may be the beginning of the end of the NHS and exposes David Cameron as a blair-faced liar.
- 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.
The cost of the government’s plans to restructure the NHS is rising at almost £1m a day, the Guardian has learned. Buried in a spreadsheet put out by the Department of Health as part of its revised business plan last week, officials admitted that the cost of transition was now £1.49bn.
This figure is £160m more than the previous estimate, issued six months ago, when the reforms bill was first published. In January the department estimated the total cost of the structural change to be £1.33bn. The health bill was amended after suggestions by a committee set up by David Cameron, the Future Forum, to head off criticism over the wide-ranging reforms. But the effect appears to have been to increase significantly the cost of the upheaval to the taxpayer.
A new impact assessment will now be completed by the Department of Health following the forum’s recommendations. Analysis by the Health Service Journal has shown that the transition to placing health budgets in the hands of GPs had already cost £228m since July last year.
The size, scale and cost of the reforms have long troubled MPs and health service professionals, who point out that cutting staff also costs huge sums in redundancy payments. Trade unions claim that three-quarters of the estimated cost of the transition will go towards redundancy payments to 20,000 staff, suggesting average settlements of more than £45,000.
John Healey, the shadow health secretary, said: “People will be shocked at the scale of wasted cost due to David Cameron’s NHS upheaval. These new figures, slipped out by the Department of Health, show that the costs of this unnecessary reorganisation are spiralling out of control.” Alan Maynard, professor of health economics at York University, said: “The delays and time taken for the reforms have really begun to affect morale and work ethic. People just won’t work if they don’t know where they will be next year or whether they have a job.”
Hip replacements, cataract surgery and tonsil removal are among operations now being rationed in a bid to save the NHS money.
Two-thirds of health trusts in England are rationing treatments for “non-urgent” conditions as part of the drive to reduce costs in the NHS by £20bn over the next four years. One in three primary-care trusts (PCTs) has expanded the list of procedures it will restrict funding to in the past 12 months.
Examples of the rationing now being used include:
* Hip and knee replacements only being allowed where patients are in severe pain. Overweight patients will be made to lose weight before being considered for an operation.
* Cataract operations being withheld from patients until their sight problems “substantially” affect their ability to work.
* Patients with varicose veins only being operated on if they are suffering “chronic continuous pain”, ulceration or bleeding.
* Tonsillectomy (removing tonsils) only to be carried out in children if they have had seven bouts of tonsillitis in the previous year.
* Grommets to improve hearing in children only being inserted in “exceptional circumstances” and after monitoring for six months.
* Funding has also been cut in some areas for IVF treatment on the NHS.
The alarming figures emerged from a survey of 111 PCTs by the health-service magazine GP, using the Freedom of Information Act.
Doctors are known to be concerned about how the new rationing is working – and how it will affect their relationships with patients.
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.
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