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NHS ‘waiting for patients to die or go private’ to save money. NHS Trusts are deliberately making patients wait longer for operations hoping that they will either go private or die waiting, according to a recent report.

The Co-operation and Competition Panel said there was an “endemic” of unfair practices in care delivery in many parts of England as the NHS comes under pressure to cut £20bn in expenditure over the next four years.

Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) impose “pain and inconvenience” by making patients wait longer than necessary for operations, hoping they will leave waiting lists “either by dying or by paying for their own treatment,” claims the report, details of which were published in the Daily Telegraph on Friday 29th July 2011

One tactic used by Primary Care Trusts is blocking patient choice, with half of the 151 PCTs guilty of the practice, according to the report. “Commissioners have a difficult job in the current financial climate, but patients’ rights are often being restricted without a valid and visible reason,” said the panel’s Chairman, Lord Carter of Coles.

Two-thirds of health trusts in England are rationing treatments for “non-urgent conditions” such as hip and knee replacements and cataract operations.

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