Thursday, 1 March 2007

Full scale of NHS cutbacks revealed

The full scale of impending hospital closures was laid bare last night as it emerged that three out of four trusts are already restricting patients' access to treatment as they battle soaring deficits.

Fears about the number of closures intensified as Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, sent NHS managers a guide on how best to handle decisions to shut down hospitals and units - a document that opposition politicians immediately branded a "spin" blueprint.

At the same time, a survey of NHS trust chief executives revealed the impact of the health service's financial crisis on front-line care.

The survey, published in today's Health Service Journal, shows that 73 per cent of primary care trusts, which run GP clinics and health centres, are already restricting access to treatments. Half are also delaying operations.

Seven out of 10 chief executives said "patient care will suffer" as a result of short-term financial decisions to cut deficits, while 61 per cent of acute hospital trusts said they were already closing wards.

The rest of the story can be seen here.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

NHS 'Postcode lottery' fails boy

'RIDICULOUS' health chiefs have been accused of playing 'postcode lottery' after refusing a youngster's potentially life-saving treatment.
As already reported in the Advertiser, Warwickshire Primary Care Trust has turned down a £7,500 application for an epilepsy-treating device for 13-year-old John Love, of Smeaton Lane, Stretton-under Fosse.

The application for the Vagus Nerve StimuADVERTISEMENTlator - which could help alleviate John's severe drug-resistant condition - was deemed by the PCT as lacking 'cost-effectiveness'.

However, in a letter to the group, John's consultant, Dr. Sunny Phillip, said every single PCT in the West Midlands requesting the treatment for the past three years had been granted.

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He has described the 'unfortunate' decision as an example of a 'postcode lottery' - comments backed by John's mother, Eve Love.

She said: "I just cannot understand why they can refuse this. They are looking for excuses - but they don't have one. It's outrageous and absolutely ridiculous."

Harris High School pupil John - who also suffers from learning difficulties - was diagnosed when he was four.

He has potentially deadly seizures every day and his quality of life and independence is limited.

Link to article