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Details emerge on ‘low clinical priority’ review

Restrictions on ophthalmology, urology and orthopaedic treatments are among the clinical areas on PCTs’ controversial ‘low clinical priority’ lists to be reviewed by SHAs after the Department of Health admitted GPs and patients had expressed alarm over the rationing of care.

The first details of the review have emerged nine months after Pulse revealed the DH was to draw up some national standards.

NHS London has been asked to review ophthalmology, ENT and orthopaedics and NHS East Midlands urology and general surgery, while other areas are looking at other clinical specialities through the Right Care workstream of the QIPP programme.

Officials refused to be drawn on whether the SHA responses would be used to draw together a national list of low clinical priority treatments, something the BMA called for in the summer in a bid to stamp out postcode variation in care.

A DH spokesperson said: ‘Some patients and clinicians have expressed concerns about the processes or lists which they feel have been put in place by some commissioners.

‘That’s why we have asked SHA medical directors to work with surgical specialties to ensure that decisions are being made in the best interests of patients and not solely on financial grounds.’