Sunday, July 25, 2010

About That Socialized Medicine: Cutting Services at the NHS

It doesn't come as any surprise to sensible people, but, apparently, there are some people shocked that the National Health Service is cutting the services patients can get.

An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has uncovered widespread cuts planned across the NHS, many of which have already been agreed by senior health service officials. They include:

* Restrictions on some of the most basic and common operations, including hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery and orthodontic procedures.

* Plans to cut hundreds of thousands of pounds from budgets for the terminally ill, with dying cancer patients to be told to manage their own symptoms if their condition worsens at evenings or weekends.

* The closure of nursing homes for the elderly.

* A reduction in acute hospital beds, including those for the mentally ill, with targets to discourage GPs from sending patients to hospitals and reduce the number of people using accident and emergency departments.

* Tighter rationing of NHS funding for IVF treatment, and for surgery for obesity.

* Thousands of job losses at NHS hospitals, including 500 staff to go at a trust where cancer patients recently suffered delays in diagnosis and treatment because of staff shortages.

* Cost-cutting programmes in paediatric and maternity services, care of the elderly and services that provide respite breaks to long-term carers.

There's no such thing as "basic" healthcare. There's only healthcare that solves your problem, whether it's a $7.50 bottle of penicillin or a $50,000 heart bypass. This is why the argument that your insurance company "rations" your healthcare is pretty much nonsense. The rationing comes when you are barred from getting treatment because the government has decided you don't really need pain meds for cancer.