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Please share. To understand what is happening to the NHS, you must understand the relationship between private healthcare corporations and those who are running our NHS.
This is part of a deliberate, long term plan and it's happening now. pic.twitter.com/UWS2WrKtAc
— EL4C (@EL4JC) July 15, 2018
THE NUMBER of patients referred to private hospitals by NHS bosses has surged by nearly 600 per cent over the last decade as an under-staffed health service buckles under unprecedented demand, figures reveal.
By LUCY JOHNSTON, EXCLUSIVE PUBLISHED: 03:58, Sun, Jul 15, 2018 | UPDATED: 04:04, Sun, Jul 15, 2018 Sunday Express
Alarmed campaigners fear it is another example of creeping privatisation in the NHS and the figures follow a government health watchdog report highlighting serious safety concerns among private hospitals.
The figures, released by NHS digital, show the health service paid for 584,963 private procedures and operations because it did not have enough staff or resources to cope – almost six times the amount outsourced to the private sector between 2007 and 2008, when it commissioned 100,067 procedures.
At the same time, the total number of hospital procedures rose by only a quarter, almost three million in total, to 16,546,667 in 2016-17.
The number of private procedures commissioned by the NHS last year is estimated to have cost at least £1billion.
Sara Gorton of health service union Unison said: “With so many demands being made on the NHS, it’s not surprising that targets for surgery waiting times are being missed and the NHS is having to pay for expensive operations in private hospitals. It’s a terrible use of already stretched NHS resources.
“It’s also why it’s so important the NHS gets the money it’s been promised by ministers as soon as possible, so the health service can get back to treating all its patients on its own premises.”
Dr Tony O’Sullivan, cochairman of pressure group Keep Our NHS Public, said: “It is very damaging for the NHS and a safety issue to divert to the private sector, which does not have the infrastructure and level of expertise to deal with complex cases when things go wrong.
“Often the NHS has to pick up the pieces when this happens. On top of this, increasing use of private hospitals means removing skills from the NHS whilst divesting of income from the more lucrative elective and straightforward cases.”
The news comes alongside growing safety concern about staffing and facilities in some private hospitals.
One report into acute care published last year by the Care Quality Commission found safety concerns in 41 per cent of 206 independent hospitals it inspected.
It discovered an “informal culture” in some operating theatres and lack of proper checks and monitoring of senior doctors.
It likened some failures to those in the case of West Midlands breast surgeon Ian Paterson, who was found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent last year and jailed for 20 years.
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “As spending on the NHS has increased, private sector spending remains proportionally low. We remain clear that the NHS will remain free at the point of use, both now and in the future.”
By Emma Bower on the 16 July 2018
The number of prescriptions issued in primary care in England for nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) fell by 75% between 2005/6 and 2016/17 and dispensing rates for varenicline fell by more than 50% between 2010/11 and 2016/17, according to new analysis.
The research, by health charity the British Lung Foundation, also found that the number of stop smoking products dispensed in Wales in 2016/17 was two-thirds less than in 2007/8. There was a 40% fall in the number of products dispensed in Scotland between 2012/13 and 2014/15.
The British Lung Foundation said the results were the ‘very real effects of sustained cuts to funding.’
The charity’s report Less help to quit said the decline in prescriptions of stop smoking products over the past five years had not been matched by a similar decrease in smokers. Between 2010/11 and 2016/17 smoking prevalence in England fell by 22%, while prescription rates fell by 60%.
According to figures from NHS Digital, GP practices are the most common place for smokers in England to first seek help to quit, with 38% choosing this route. However, the British Lung Foundation said that people were increasingly unable to get help to stop smoking from their GP surgery because of funding restrictions.
A survey by GPonline earlier this year found that 40% of GP partners had experienced cuts in funding for smoking cessation services provided by their practice in the previous 12 months.
This latest research found significant regional variation in the availability of stop smoking products on prescription and specialist services. Stop smoking services had been cut, or decommissioned entirely, in areas of England and some CCGs had issued guidance asking GPs not to prescribe smoking cessation products.
In Worcestershire the local authority decommissioned its stop smoking services in April 2016 and CCGs advised GPs not to prescribe NRT, bupropion or varenicline for any new patients because the local authority would no longer reimburse the costs.
Across the area just 98 people were supported to stop smoking in 2016/17 compared with 2,208 in the previous year, and there were no recorded quit attempts made through general practice.
The report also found that some areas with higher than average smoking prevalence had ‘incredibly low’ prescribing rates. On average one prescription for stop smoking products is dispensed for every seven smokers in England. However, the research found that this figure drops to 1 in every 176 smokers in Bracknell and Ascot CCG in Berkshire and 1 in 55 smokers in Hackney CCG in east London.
Items prescribed per 1,000 population are also much lower in England than in Scotland, and this gap is widening, the report added.
The British Lung Foundation warned that the use of e-cigarettes, which are not available on the NHS, could not be guaranteed to fill the gap created by the drop in prescriptions. E-cigarette use had plateaued among smokers since early 2013 and their use among recent ex-smokers had declined from a peak in 2016.
Public health cuts
Professor Stephen Spiro, honorary medical adviser to the British Lung Foundation said: ‘Many smokers cannot get the medication they need to quit because of the decisions made by their local health services.
‘These decisions are of course not taken lightly or, in some cases, willingly. They are a result of the erosion of government funding for stop smoking support. In England, the national cuts in public health funding will total over £600m by 2021. This report shows that we’re reaping the very real effects of sustained cuts to funding. Yet again we must call for these damaging reductions to local public health funding to be reversed.
‘This report also shows how – to cut costs – decisions are being taken by a growing number of CCGs to stop GPs from prescribing clinically-effective and appropriate medication for smokers. This is a travesty.‘
The British Lung Foundation said all smokers should be able to expect their GP to provide access to stop smoking medication, either by issuing a prescription or referral to a specialist service.
It called on commissioners to remove any unfair restrictions on which types and how many approved stop smoking products could be prescribed.