Labour rebukes government over NHS rationing

Labour has called for the government to end the 'postcode lottery' of access to NHS care, after a GP magazine survey found rationing is on the rise.

Andy Burnham: government must end postcode lottery of access to care
Andy Burnham: government must end postcode lottery of access to care

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said the GP survey, which received national media attention, confirmed his party’s warnings about the Coalition’s NHS reorganisation.

Mr Burnham said: ‘Labour has consistently warned that David Cameron's reorganisation would result in a postcode lottery running riot through the NHS and this survey confirms that is exactly what is happening.’

He said it was ‘simply wrong’ for patients to be denied hip, knee and cataract operations because of ‘arbitrary, cost-based restrictions’.

‘Ministers promised to stop cost-based rationing of care in the NHS. Their failure to keep this promise has left older people facing the agonising choice of struggling on or paying to go private.’

He added: ‘In a national health service, patients should not be denied operations simply because of where they live. Ministers must overturn arbitrary rationing decisions and bring fairness back to the NHS.’

GP’s survey found 71% of 315 GPs believe local rationing of treatments or services in their area has increased since April 2013, when most of the NHS reforms came into force.

Responding to the survey, a spokeswoman for NHS England said: ‘Health service budgets have been protected and NHS England, through its mandate, is ensuring patients receive the services they need.’

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