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Patients' health at risk due to budget cuts

View profile for Judith Thomas-Whittingham
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The Telegraph has recently reported that the new leader of the British Medical Association Dr Porter, has warned that key services throughout the NHS are being rationed as a result of budget cuts.

Dr Porter said that there was a ‘realistic concern’ that patients may be harmed because they are denied a test or treatment due to budget pressures. The reduced services also reportedly include drug treatments and operations.

Dr Porter, a Consultant Obstetric Anaesthetist at the University Hospital, Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, criticised the Government for making the ‘morally wrong’ decisions that have been made unnecessarily, to save money. The drive to meet demanding targets is so severe that the NHS is offering some GP surgeries extra money to send fewer patients for tests and treatment in hospital.

The NHS needs to save £20 billion by 2015 and has already come under growing criticism for making it harder for patients to have operations for routine conditions such as hernias, cataracts, wisdom teeth, or hip or knee replacements, and for denying IVF.

A Department of Health spokesman has dismissed Dr Porter’s claims, stating: “The NHS is treating more people and we are increasing the NHS budget in real terms.

“The NHS made £5.8 billion in savings in 2011-12 while keeping waiting times low, performing more diagnostic tests and planned operations.”

By Sarah Fairclough