Third of GPs say health authorities rationing NHS treatments

A THIRD of GPs believe that regional health authorities are still rationing NHS treatments because of costs, according to a survey.

• 35% of GPs surveyed said treatments restricted

• Hernia, joint replacement and IVF among services affected

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Despite orders not to limit services, 35% of general practitioners said that primary care trusts (PCTs) are restricting access to a number of treatments.

The poll, conducted by GP Magazine on 682 GPs, found that PCTs are rationing operations for hernia, joint replacement and varicose veins.

There were also restrictions on fertility treatments - such as IVF - tonsillectomies and access to some drugs.

GPs believe that health commissioners are also raising thresholds so most patients are not eligible for treatment, the magazine suggests.

In June it emerged that pressure to save money had left 90% of PCTs restricting procedures including hip, knee and cataract operations and weight-loss surgery.

Following the disclosure ministers warned local commissioners that decisions as to whether and when to treat patients should be on clinical grounds alone.