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NHS will soon have to specify what care is and what isn’t freely available, GPs say

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e1493 (Published 27 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1493
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

The NHS needs to think carefully about what will and what won’t be funded as budgets contract, the Nuffield Trust concludes in a new report. It rules out producing a national list of treatments and procedures as too challenging a task and one that, even if successful, would inhibit local autonomy and be vulnerable to political lobbying.

But if a national list of NHS treatments is ruled out, how can an undefined offering be managed? Most (85%) of the GPs in England who responded to a survey carried out for the Nuffield Trust to coincide with the report agreed that the financial challenge will eventually force the NHS to set out more clearly what care is, or is not, freely available. Only half believe that the NHS will be able to achieve enough efficiency savings in the next five years to avoid having to cut back on services. A representative sample of 821 GPs in England was surveyed.

The Nuffield Trust’s answer to the problem relies heavily on evidence, …

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