Published on 19/06/2012
91 per cent of primary care trusts (PCTs) in the NHS are limiting access to at least one type of operation, including hip and knee replacements and cataracts removal.
A study conducted by GP magazine found that nine in 10 health trusts in England are rationing non-urgent operations.
Doctors warn that PCTs are ‘introducing waiting lists by the back door’, a move which will only lead to increased health costs.
The survey found that 59 per cent of local health trusts are rationing joint replacement operations for those without health insurance, including hip and knee replacements.
66 per cent are restricting access to cataract surgery.
In addition, 89 per cent are restricting access for tonsil removals, and 59 per cent access to weight loss surgery, despite guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence stating otherwise.
For example, some are restricting weight loss surgery for those with a BMI over 50, when NICE recommends surgery for those with a BMI over 40.
Health Minister Simon Burns blames the PCTs. He said: “No right-thinking person could possibly understand how anyone could delay a patient's treatment unnecessarily. If patients need treatment, they should get it when they want it and where they want it.
“If local health bodies stop patients from having treatments on the basis of cost alone we will take action against them.”
All the operations examined are classed as being either ‘non-urgent’ or of ‘limited clinical value’. However, this label is disputed by many surgeons.
Patients with private medical insurance will have their elective surgery carried out privately.
© ActiveQuote Health Ltd. 2012Categories: NHS and Hospitals