Saturday, 10 September 2011

GP's 'rationing' healthcare already ... and they're not even being 'bonused' on it yet!

The number of patients being referred by their GP to see a hospital specialist has dropped by almost 5% over the past year, prompting fresh concern that access to care is being rationed as a direct result of the pressure on NHS finances.

GPs in England referred about 3.6 million patients for a first hospital consultation between April and July, according to data from the Department of Health (DoH). That was 4.7% fewer than the same period in 2010 – 3.8 million referrals.

The number of patients being seen by consultants after a GP's referral also fell during the same period, from 3.1 million last year to 2.9 million – a drop of 5.2%. The two sets of figures do not match because many patients remain on waiting lists.

The British Medical Association (BMA), the doctors' trade association, said that reductions in patients' access to healthcare were happening more often.

"The NHS is under a lot of pressure to do less, for example through referral management initiatives, which seem to be on the increase. These may save money but for every lost referral there is a patient who is not getting diagnosed or treated, and a hospital that is more likely to encounter financial problems," said a BMA spokesman.

John Healey, the shadow health secretary, also warned that some patients may be missing out on drugs, surgery or other treatment because of the falling number of referrals.

"While it is important to reduce demand for hospital care, patients will want reassuring that they are not being denied necessary treatment," he said. "These figures show the huge pressure on hospital finances at a time when David Cameron is wasting millions of pounds reorganising the NHS bureaucracy."

The NHS in England is struggling as its budget increase this year is just 0.1% – after a decade of big annual rises – while it seeks to save £20bn by 2015. The efficiency drive was ordered by the NHS's chief executive, Sir David Nicholson, in 2009, intending to free resources for the growing number of patients, especially elderly people, with long-term conditions such as cancer, diabetes and obesity. Nicholson has told the NHS several times not to limit services in order to meet the target.

GP's are not being 'bonused' to 'ration' healthcare yet but make no mistake ... plans for GP commissioning has this at its heart ... e.g. the less spent on patient care the more their consortium will profit ... and the more the consortium profits the more the GP's will receive in dividends (i.e. cash straight into their bank accounts) ... to compliment the multimillion pound windfall they'll also receive when they decide to sell off their 'stake' in their consortium. 

Conflict of interest? You bet! Government prepared to fix this fundamental flaw in the reforms plans? Absolutely not! The real reason for these reforms is cut the healthcare budget ... and 'rationing at source' (i.e. at the point where people might be diagnosed and/or referred) is the simplest and most effective way the Government see to do this ... but they know they'll have to 'bribe' the GP's to get them to do this!

Some GP's are clearly already 'signalling' their 'enthusiasm' and 'ability' to do this ... whilst others steadfastly refuse out of principle. What people fail to realise is that not only will they be rationing healthcare, these soon to be multi-millionaires will also be looting the NHS of the finance is desperately needs to spend on healthcare!

Hippocratic oath - or Hypocrasy ...?

When diagnosing patients in the future ... will patients believe and have trust in what their doctor says and recommends? ... or will that vital trust be broken ... with patients trusting them little more than politicians? **

Unsure ... well if you need more information in order to decide ... why don't you listen to what trustworthy and honorable GP's say ... and/or the latest news on GP's being caught charging the NHS for treating patients that don't exist ... or who died years ago!

** Age old saying: 

Question: "When do you know a politician is lying?"
Answer:   "When their lips are moving!"

"Weapons of mass destruction", "I pledge not to raise tuition fees", "I'll cut the deficit, not the NHS" ...