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Patients Face Delays On Medical Procedures Following NHS Rationing

Photo by: vitalworks via Pixabay Medical procedures like cataract removal, hip replacements, knee surgery, and procedures for carpal tunnel syndrome are among treatments that are facing delays while doctors battle a new wave of National Health Service (NHS) rationing. According to data obtained by the British Medical Journal (BMJ), a rise in the number of special requests for funding now being lodged has been recorded, increasing by 47 percent last year to 73,900, compared to only 50,200 in the years 2013-2014.Out of the total number of special requests, only 52 percent were approved, with some patients waiting months before their treatment started. Stephen Cannon, vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said these restrictions are a futile attempt to save money, stating that “by mandatorily requiring prior approval from the individual funding request service before referral, these CCGs [clinical commissioning groups] are unfairly and unnecessarily prolonging the time patients will spend in pain, possibly immobile and unable to carry out daily tasks or to work.” There also seems to be no specific trend in the number of requests for funding, as well as their corresponding approvals, as the figures vary per area. For example, Rushcliffe CCG in Nottingham received no requests, while Chiltern CCG processed 3,800 requests.Southern Derbyshire CCG received 14 requests last year for procedures such as cataract surgery but did not approve any. On the other hand, Stafford and Surrounds CCG processed 2,123 requests, including 764 for skin excision, 232 for cataracts, and 163 for hip or knee replacement, and approved them all. Richard Vautrey, a GP in Leeds and deputy chairman of the British Medical Association's General Practitioners Committee, called for “an open and honest discussion” on this type of rationing and urged NHS England to set clear guidelines on which treatments should be easily available and which should require a special request.

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