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Sick Brits forced to wait longer for treatment as NHS spending cuts lead to increased operation rationing

SICK Brits face soaring NHS rationing for common treatments such as hip ops and cataract removal, an investigation reveals.

It found GPs are increasingly forced to lodge special funding requests for once routine procedures.

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Sick Brits are now being forced to wait longer for treatment as rationing of previously routine operations increases[/caption]

The number of pleas for local health boards to pay for treatment has rocketed by 47 per cent in the past four years.

But for hip and knee surgery, these requests are now 15 times higher than in 2013/14, according to a British Medical Journal investigation.

It also found evidence of increased rationing for cataract removal, carpal tunnel syndrome procedures and mental health treatment.

Most of the 74,000 special funding requests were for cosmetic procedures – such as removing varicose veins – or for IVF, which the NHS drugs watchdog says should be routinely funded.

Just over half were approved, although many patients still face long delays before they receive hospital care.

Stephen Cannon, vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons, slammed cash-saving restrictions on hip and knee surgery misguided.

The number of requests made by GPs to local health boards for funding for treatments has increased by 47 per cent over four years[/caption]

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Vice President of the Royal College of Surgeons, Stephen Cannon, has slammed the rationing of NHS treatments[/caption]

Mr Cannon said: “By mandatorily requiring prior approval from the individual funding request service before referral, these CCGs [local NHS funding boards] are unfairly and unnecessarily prolonging the time patients will spend in pain, possibly immobile and unable to carry out daily tasks or to work.”

An individual funding request is made by a medic for a particular treatment or service that is not routinely offered by the NHS but is the best treatment for a patient.

Overall, the number of these requests made by GPs in England rose to 73,900 last year, up from 50,200 in 2013/14.

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Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Steven, warned of growing delays for non-emergency treatments due to spending cuts[/caption]

Earlier this year, NHS supremo Simon Stevens warned of growing delays for non-emergency care due to cash constraints.

According to the BMJ, NHS bosses in Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern, in Buckinghamshire, issued guidance stating all referrals for hip and knee surgery need a special funding request.

Richard Vautrey, a GP in Leeds and deputy chairman of the BMA’s GP Committee, said: “It’s clearly unfair for patients to be subjected to this postcode rationing, and it also adds further to GPs’ workload as they are called on to provide more and more evidence to support each application.”

Deputy chairman of the BMA’s GP Committee, Richard Vautrey, claimed postcode rationing of NHS care is ‘unfair’

Julie Wood, chief executive of NHS Clinical Commissioners, the organisation that represents local NHS boards, said commissioners had to make “difficult decisions”.

She said: “Unfortunately the NHS does not have unlimited resources, and ensuring that patients get high quality care against a backdrop of spiralling demand and increasing financial pressures is one of the biggest issues CCGs face.”

Chief executive of NHS Clinical Commissioners, Julie Wood, said NHS boards had to make ‘difficult decisions’[/caption]

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