Fri Oct 28th, 2011 at 12:02:39 PM EST
Here is the lethal blow
NHS Bill lets GPs restrict treatment. So what happens if you can't pay? | Blog | False Economy
Clause 10 of the Health Bill is a key clause in the Government's plan to turn the NHS into a commercial market. In an earlier post for False Economy I said that one effect of this clause is to allow some Clinical Commissioning Groups (similar to the notorious GP practice in Haxby in Yorkshire) to restrict the services that the NHS will pay for so that patients will use their private practice. But what happens if patients cannot pay?
The Lords Select Committee on the Constitution says that Clause 10 of the bill will amend the NHS Act 2006 to say that a CCG must arrange for the provision of services "as it considers necessary to meet the reasonable requirements" of patients. The clause gives a comprehensive list of services including hospital accommodation; medical, dental, ophthalmic, nursing and ambulance services; services for pregnant and breastfeeding women; and diagnostics. In other words, almost everything the NHS currently provides is at risk. The phrase "as the CCG considers necessary" means that the CCG can decide what is, and what is not funded by the NHS, but the Bill does not say what will happen to patients that cannot afford to pay.
For example, at some time in the future your local CCG may look at its finances and decide that patients must pay for diagnostics like blood tests and x-rays. It is a local CCG that will make this decision, whereas at the moment it is the Secretary of State. If Andrew Lansley were to say "patients will now have to pay for blood tests" there would be uproar. Lansley would be hauled onto Newsnight or the Today programme to justify his decision. The political fallout would be huge and Lansley would rescind this decision. This is why we have politicians responsible for the NHS: they are accountable.
This clause transfers priorities from clinical to financial. It's the old seeing the price of everything and the value of nothing.
A commentator writes
Christine Burns - Google+ - This article explains a point that I have recently been...
This article explains a point that I have recently been trying to get across to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The health bill will invalidate previous case law regarding the right of people to have their conditions treated on the NHS.
Cases like A.D.&G. vs NW Lancs Health Authority (1998/9) were based on the principle that had ruled the NHS since 1948, which is that the NHS is a universal service treating all conditions for which there are legitimate treatments. The courts therefore ruled that having anything amounting to a blanket ban on something like (say) treatment for gender dysphoria was unlawful.
So it removes current opportunities of legal redress too
Truly this government are barbarians.