Rationing of NHS services ‘leaving patients in pain and distress’
The King’s Fund Report says Rationing of NHS services ‘leaving patients in pain and distress’.
The rationing of NHS services: The enforced rationing of overstretched NHS services is leaving patients in pain and distress, a new report has said.
A combination of financial strain, staff shortages and unprecedented demand has led to shortfallings in care across a number of areas, said The King’s Fund. The report examined the impact of health service rationing in four sectors – sexual health services, district nursing, planned hip operations and neonatal care.
“Pressure on all services is rising and care is increasingly being rationed. Waiting lists should not be rising, and yet they are,” said Mark Porter, council chair of the British Medical Association (BMA).
“Doctors always want to deliver the best possible care for our patients, but we can’t continuously plug gaps by penny pinching and poaching from elsewhere in an overstretched NHS.”
The report suggests that dying patients are waiting up to eight hours to receive pain relief because of cuts to district nursing services during the NHS’s unprecedented budget squeeze.
Severe financial pressures on the NHS are leading to longer waits for treatment and a short-sighted and growing rationing of care that is storing up problems for the future, according to the study.
The report quotes one unnamed manager of a hospice saying: “The district nurses working at night are not able to give effective response times; you can wait up to eight hours … for patients experiencing pain and discomfort in the last two to three days of their life, it has a massive impact. It’s a frightening time for patients.”