Plans to ration care an example of government 'wrecking the NHS'
News that a series of barriers are being erected limiting GPs' in London's rights to refer people to consultants today provoked an angry response from Stuart Jeffery, Green Party Health Speaker: "Referral panels are clearly aimed at controlling referrals from GPs to hospitals, and are the latest example of how the government's inconsistent and incoherent policies are wrecking the NHS and a number of questions must be asked.
"Firstly, why has the new GP contract failed so fundamentally to include proper demand management measures? Despite costing the NHS far more than expected, there seem to be no benefits in public health or reducing demand for secondary care.
"Secondly, it seems inconceivable that managers would stop referrals for necessary care and as there is evidence of poor referrals by both GPs and from consultants, is there a better way of improving the quality of referrals? Thirdly, how can the government explain this approach when patients are promised 'choice at point of referral', a complete inconsistency of policy.
"And finally, why has the government allowed the NHS to get into such a huge financial mess that it requires draconian measures to attempt a recovery?"
"The poor state of the NHS shows that the governement has failed in real investment, failed to foster real changes in practice and is now failing to provide real and necessary health care. What the government is succeeding in is destroying the NHS."