Patients who need hip operations or cataract surgery could be refused treatment for four months after health chiefs in the north west of England said they could no longer afford to fund all NHS services.
St Helen’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in Merseyside, could become the first in the country to temporarily suspend all non-essential hospital referrals by GPs in a bid to balance its books.
The CCG, which was recently rated ‘inadequate’ by NHS England, said it was aware that the decision would be unpopular but warned that its funding gap was now so large that it would be forced to ‘suspend, reduce or withdraw’ non-urgent services.
Commissioners said that a four-month pause of all elective treatment over the winter months would ‘support hospitals during the busy winter period’ and enable them to concentrate on the sickest patients.
The CCG is also proposing to stop providing over-the-counter painkillers, cough and cold remedies, antihistamines and skin creams for minor ailments as well as gluten free foods and fertility treatment for under 37s.
However patients groups warned that cancer is often picked up during non-essential treatment and said lives could be put in danger. St Helen’s could also find it in breach of the NHS Constitution which says that waiting times for operations cannot exceed 18 weeks.
Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
One of the worst-kept secrets about the farcical Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is that it wasn’t designed to be either protective, or affordable. It was designed to fail, and in that regard, it’s working.
The fever dream of all Americans who have even tiptoed to the left side of the aisle is about health care as a right and a good old U-S-of-A that one day moves to a single-payer model. Well, this is what single-payer looks like. Honestly, I could fill half of my weekly blogging quota with stories like this from across the pond. “Free” health care is really, really expensive too, which is something that the progressives among voters in the U.S. don’t seem to ever grasp. When the money runs low, which it always does, the only option is to ration services. Those of us who mentioned this in the “debate” leading up to the passage of the PPACA were called-you guessed it-racists.
Even a casual study of big-government programs, especially those related to health care, will quickly reveal that cost projections are always exceeded, generally by quite a lot (see: Medicare). There is always a funding crisis (see: Social Security). When that happens, it’s rationing time.
For the millionth time, there is a vast difference between the availability of health insurance and the availability of health care. The former does not guarantee the latter. In fact, as we see here, it can have the opposite effect.