LMCs conference 2014: GPs demand honesty over NHS rationing

GP representatives have called on the government to tell patients 'the truth about rationing'.

Dr Jackie Applebee: NHS is affordable (Photo: Pete Hill)
Dr Jackie Applebee: NHS is affordable (Photo: Pete Hill)

UK LMCs meeting in York agreed that expectation has rocketed and the NHS cannot afford for patients to have what they want when they want it.

They voted to demand a self care strategy to ensure NHS resources are used appropriately.

GPC negotiator Dr Beth McCarron-Nash told LMCs the NHS was set up to deliver free-at-the-point-of-delivery care for people's needs.

But she added: 'There is a big difference between need and want. And at the moment we cannot provide what we need to provide for those who are vulnerable, elderly and sick, because we are told we have to provide supermarket martini-style anytime, any place, anywhere general practice to those who want us.'

'If we don't come up with solutions that are honest and get politicians to speak out about this, we won't have a sustainable NHS.'

Part of that, Dr McCarron-Nash added, was providing a self help strategy so patients know when it is right to use NHS services.

Dr  Jackie Applebee from City and East LMC said talk of rationing 'seems to play along with the rhetoric that the NHS is not affordable and that we need to limit the services available free at the point of delivery.'

'The NHS is not unaffordable,' she said. 'We must firmly reject this perceived wisdom peddled by politicians to try and justify spending cuts to reduce their budget deficit.'

Dr Applebee said the NHS was one of the most cost-effective health systems in the developed world.

'We shouldn't be talking about rationing,' she added, 'but about why so much of the NHS budget is spent on the likes of PFI schemes.'

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