Thursday, April 7, 2011

UK Rationing Update

UK surgeons are sounding a new alarm about the long waits for surgery under the British National Health Service.

In particular:
Surgeons have described the delays faced by patients as "devastating and cruel". Peter Kay, the president of the British Orthopaedic Association (BOA), says they've become increasingly frustrated that hip and knee replacements are being targeted as a way of finding savings...

"GPs were told not so send as many patients to hospital, maybe to delay referrals until the end of the financial year while perhaps introducing thresholds for surgery."

He says that simply delaying surgery by one means or another does not improve the outcome for patients as their condition can deteriorate.

"The double jeopardy is that patients wait longer in pain, and when they have the operation, the result might not have been as good as it otherwise would have been had they had it early."
The article also describes how the NHS administrators "game" the numbers to make the waiting times seem shorter than they really are.

Remember, this is the system that men like Medicare chief Donald Berwick has praised as a moral ideal to emulate here in the US...

(Via Doug R.)