Socialized medicine

In Britain, doctors are being paid not to refer patients for treatment:

Dozens of incentive schemes have been uncovered which allow GPs to profit by slashing the number of patients they refer for hospital care.

Under one scheme, GPs stand to gain £59 for every patient not referred to hospital, if they cut an average referral rate by between two and eight per cent.

Torbay care trust in Devon will pay up to £15,000 to the average-sized GP practice if it hits a swathe of targets, including reducing hospital referrals.

NHS managers say referral rates, which rose 16 per cent nationwide during the first quarter of this year, have to be cut to save money. They claim many patients can receive equally good care from community NHS staff, such as physiotherapists and nurses.

But critics fear that patients could suffer if GPs’ decisions are swayed by the prospect of a cash bonus.

And yes, this cost-cutting measure is hurting people:

A leading surgeon said that patients’ cancers had already gone undiagnosed after they were denied specialist care under two such “referral management” schemes.

Orthopaedic surgeon Stephen Cannon, former president of the British Orthopaedic Association and a consultant surgeon at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, described the cases as an “absolutely terrible” warning that decisions by non-specialist doctors could have devastating consequences.

He said: “I recently encountered two cases in which patients referred to physiotherapists later turned out to have a malignant tumour. If they had been sent to a consultant the outcome may have been very different.

If this policy hasn’t killed anyone yet, it’s only a matter of time.

This, of course, is the model of “health care” that Democrats want to see imposed in the United States.

(Via Instapundit.)

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One Response to Socialized medicine

  1. notarealamerican says:

    Have you ever been to the UK? For more than three days? Do you have any idea of what you are talking about? I didn’t think so.

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