CCGs were “queuing up” behind rationing pioneer to implement same policy, conference hears

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 23 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1022
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Controversial plans by one of England’s clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to ration access to surgery had the unpredictable but financially helpful effect of reducing referrals, a conference was told on Thursday 19 February.

The Devon CCG was forced to backtrack on plans to limit surgery for smokers and morbidly obese patients because of criticisms from the Department of Health, but it nevertheless saw referrals for surgery rapidly decline after the controversy, while referrals for smoking cessation increased.

David Jenner, who chairs two parts of the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon CCG, said at a debate held by the Nuffield Trust that the limitations on surgery had been seen as an “emergency measure,” since the CCG was in deficit and local intervention rates were very high for reasons that were not understood.

“We got quite a lot of support from the public, particularly on smoking cessation,” he said. …

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