Saturday, July 30, 2011

Patients struggle even to get on waiting lists in UK

One woman waiting four months for a knee operation was told by a hospital that her name would drop off the list unless she replied to a letter, while a man had to pay £11,000 for a replacement hip after his doctors repeatedly refused to refer him for treatment. A multiple sclerosis sufferer claimed he had had to wait 18 months just to be added to a waiting list.

The examples emerged after The Daily Telegraph disclosed how health service funding bodies are artificially increasing waiting times as they wait for patients to die or go private.

The row prompted Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, to accuse the Primary Care Trusts that currently pay for treatment of “cynically” trying to “game” the system, and promise that under his reforms patients’ needs will be the priority.