Labour calls for NHS rationing investigation

Labour MPs have stepped up pressure on ministers to investigate NHS rationing in response to GP magazine's findings of widespread local restrictions on services.

Labour shadow health secretary Andy Burnham
Labour shadow health secretary Andy Burnham

Last month, GP magazine revealed that more than 90% of PCTs now impose thresholds or limits on referrals for procedures deemed 'non-urgent' or of 'low clinical value'.

Labour shadow health secretary Andy Burnham cited GP’s findings during a House of Commons debate on a motion about the NHS.

The motion referred to ‘mounting evidence of rationing of treatments and services by cost, despite ministers’ claims to have prevented it’. The motion also mentioned the ‘growing gap between ministers’ statements and what is happening in the NHS’.

Mr Burnham said: ‘I was talking about rationing, and let me focus on cataract surgery. GP magazine has found limits on cataract surgery in 66% of PCTs.’

Labour MP for Denton and Reddish Andrew Gwynne mentioned GP’s findings alongside Labour’s own investigation of the issue during a House of Commons debate this week.

‘Aside from the evidence presented by the Labour party and the GP magazine, verified by Full Fact, PCTs acknowledge that they are restricting access to bariatric surgery,’ he said.

Mr Gwynne said it was becoming ‘increasingly clear’ that there was ‘a gap between ministers’ statements on the NHS and people’s real experience of it on the ground’.

The motion was defeated, with 303 MPs voting against it and just 228 voting for it.

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