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CCG to ration range of services in cost-cutting scheme

A CCG is set to restrict services including vasectomy, female sterilisation and spinal physiotherapy, in a bid to save £1m.

NHS North East Essex CCG today announced the plans, which will also see restrictions on the prescription of gluten-free products and threshold conditions on the basis of smoking and weight for some patients before procedures begin. 

It said that the move follows a year-long programme of discussions with local people and communities across the district about self-care, as well as discussions with local elected clinical members at the CCG.

The announcement follows a decision by NHS Basildon & Brentwood CCG, also in Essex, to restrict the number of patients GPs can refer for vasectomy.

A statement from NHS North East Essex CCG said: ‘The board gave immediate approval to restrict gluten-free food products, as well as vasectomy and spinal physiotherapy services. 

‘It also agreed in principle for the CCG to restrict female sterilisation and apply threshold conditions on the basis of smoking and weight for some patients before elective procedures begin.’ 

CCG chair Dr Gary Sweeney said that although savings of £35m had been made, this was ‘no longer enough’ and that hard choices had to be made. 

He added: ‘We now have to look at restricting access to some services where evidence suggests that the overall benefits to our population are small. We have no choice other than to stay within budget, and if we do not implement these decisions then we would have to select other services to restrict.’

The CCG’s acting chief officer, Samantha Hepplewhite, said: ‘If the CCG’s position changes in the future, we will reconsider or adapt the implementation of these changes.

‘We believe that by restricting the services in the way we intend to, we will save around £1m this year. This is against a total of £22m for 2015/16.’

Readers' comments (8)

  • Stop prescribing four things: paracetamol, ibuprofen, vitamin D and topical musculoskeletal gels and see what millions you save. But no, that's politically incorrect.

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  • I'm with practice manager. Anything OTC stopped being prescribed and it would save huge sums in unnecessary consultations and also scripts. simples.....but not going to happen.

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  • At the risk of being politically incorrect, this is going to create a situation in which well educated and rich people restrict their families and less well educated people who cannot afford surgery will not.
    Very short sighted.

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  • The smoking and weight loss criteria will be successfully challenged. There is no way to ration healthcare when the politicians refuse even to consider the idea.

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  • Devon CCG tried this a few months back-immediate backlash and withdrawn.

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  • Exactly what the politicians have been angling for-they can put the blame for rationing on local GPs.What a bunch of whipping-boys we are!

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  • just as Jeremy Hunt puts up his hands and says the NHS is not his responsibility, so this CCG is sacrificing peoples' health to serve the political ends of the government determned to destroy a universal NHS.
    So what if the CCG goes into deficit? NHS already in millions of pounds of 'deficit', quantitative easing for banks but not the NHS. will the CCG suddenly be closed down if in deficit? Not likely.
    Vasectomy and sterilisation are very cost effective by the way compared with lifelng contraception and unplanned pregnancies.

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  • NHS deficiency is due to wastage and public misuse and abuse of services.

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