Treatment ban in bid to cut costs

NHS hospital trusts across England are compiling 'banned treatment lists' in a drive to make billions of pounds in efficiency savings, the BMA has said.

Speaking at the 2010 BMA consultants' conference, Dr Mark Porter, the BMA's consultants committee chairman, said instead of a 'quest for wholesale reductions in budgets' lists of banned treatments are being compiled.

'These lists represent target reductions based on cost and volume, sometimes ignoring the benefit to individual patients that a consultant in partnership with a GP might agree,' he said.

Dr Porter said it was clear that the target to achieve £20 billion of efficiency savings by 2014 cannot be achieved by 'creative accounting'. He said it was an 'inevitable conclusion' that services that are valued by patients will be cut.

But Dr Porter also said consultants will be involved in the discussions that lead to service reductions, and he called for consultants to 'go back to your hospitals and prepare to protect patient services'.

He said: 'Painful though it is, more painful though it will be, we cannot stand aside and let the debate be conducted between management consultants and finance directors, but must instead stand within it, bringing our experience, our evidence and our advocacy to bear.'

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