Non-urgent treatment not referred to NHS

PUBLISHED: 15:00 03 December 2010

Archant

PATIENTS in Weston and Worle wanting ‘low priority’ treatment are being turned away by the NHS as the public body tightens its financial belt.

Doctors say more referrals for treatments such as non-urgent cosmetics are being refused by the national service than ever before.

It comes as the NHS seeks to find savings because of spiralling costs in drugs and treatment and an increased demand for services.

Practice manager Val Denton, of Tudor Lodge Surgery in Nithsdale Road, said: “We have to be careful about who we are sending for referral - today minor cosmetic treatments such as mole removal are now more likely to get refused by the NHS.

“This means we explain to people that they may not have luck getting treatment and they should possibly go away and come back if ever it becomes a problem to their health.

“It just means we have to be selective on what we refer, the last thing we want really is for money to be spent on a low priority patient which needs to be spent on an urgent hip replacement.”

The cut in spending has also led to an increase of patients opting to pay for treatment themselves or on insurance, according to one independent healthcare provider.

BMI Healthcare claims a poll of 1,000 GPs in the South West show 60 per cent are now more likely to channel patients to the private sector for ‘low priority’ operations.

The figures compared to an overall figure of 53 per cent across the UK.

All surgeries in the region are being made aware of an upcoming budget announcement by NHS, which will aim to make £20billion of savings by 2014.

The likely cuts are going to mean surgeries will be expected to work more efficiently to help save cash.

Mrs Denton said: “We know the budget is likely to create new challenges for surgeries such as ourselves, but we look forward to the task and we hope it improves our service, for the patient and taxpayer.”

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