UK's NHS Patients Forced to Seek Private Care Due to Rationing

British patients depending on the National Health Service are increasingly asking their doctors about private treatment options. The shift is the result of public rationing by the NHS which makes many patients ineligible for "free" care.

Doctors in the UK refer their patients to specialists for needed procedures. But according to a new poll, 70 percent of general practitioners say they are unable to do so at least once a month because the patients don't meet criteria set by local care trusts. Examples of non-emergency procedures being affected by rationing include "cataract removals, hernia operations and hip and knee replacements."

With no way to avoid the limits imposed on public care, nearly a quarter of general practitioners (24 percent) said they were more likely to suggest private care to their patients than previously. Two-thirds of British doctors agreed that NHS rationing was the driving reason for the move to "self-pay" medical services. In addition, 56 percent of doctors cited increased wait times as a factor.

The NHS is a single-payer healthcare system, the kind Obama once said he preferred. It is also the system lionized by former head of Medicare and Medicaid Services, Dr. Donald Berwick. However, the Affordable Care Act is not a single-payer system. Democrats attempted to create a "government option" which seemed designed to lead in that direction over time, but when it became a sticking point the administration abandoned it.

Nevertheless, there are still many Democrats who say they would like to see a system like the NHS in America.


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