Annals of Government Medicine

A new edict has been handed down in England’s National Health Service: hospitals must no longer deliberately postpone surgery in hopes that the patient will either die or pay to have the operation performed privately:

NHS managers have been banned from rationing treatments while patients wait to die or go private after Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, admitted that some hospitals were delaying operations.

It comes after a damning report found NHS trusts were “imposing pain and inconvenience” by making patients wait longer than necessary for treatments in order to save money.

It is feared health service bosses have artificially increased waiting times as a way of making savings for many years.
But the practice had become “endemic”, the NHS Co-operation and Competition Panel found, as the health service struggles to make savings worth £20  billion over four years.

Under government medicine, the patient isn’t the customer, the government is. The patient is merely an inconvenience who can make things easier by going away–one way or the other.


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