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Surgeons warn about trusts’ rationing of crucial operations

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d2553 (Published 20 April 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2553
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1Margate

Surgeons have warned that primary care trusts in England are rationing surgical procedures to save money.

The Federation of Surgical Specialty Associations (FSSA) has written an open letter to the Guardian claiming that trusts are using lists of surgical procedures and interventions that are deemed to be of low clinical effectiveness or of “lower value” to limit access to procedures such as spinal, bariatric, dental, cancer, and ear, nose, and throat surgery, and hip replacements, “for which there is overwhelming evidence of benefit” (www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/apr/18/open-letter-federation-surgical).

The letter does, however, admit that some procedures may be of low value and mentions that members are already working with the Department of Health “to determine what, if any, surgical procedures should be limited on the NHS.” …

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