Hospitals told to cancel routine surgeries

Jan. 4, 2007 at 2:31 PM
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LONDON, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Hospitals in Britain, trying to balance their books, are denying surgeries for ailments such as varicose veins, wisdom teeth and bad backs, documents show.

National Health Services Trusts -- medical organizations providing local patient care and services -- throughout the country are cutting services and delaying appointments to correct financial deficits before March 31, the end of the current fiscal year, The Times of London said. The deficits run in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

In one instance, it was reported that a primary care trust in told hospitals that they won't be paid for some non-essential operations and patients won't be given hospital appointments sooner than eight weeks. Similar action at other trusts around Britain were reported.

Andrew Lansley, a Conservative party health spokesman, said the Labor Party was unable to run the NHS.

"Centrally imposed initiatives and costly targets have plunged the NHS into a record deficit," Lansley said. "The NHS needs greater freedoms at a local level to return it on a stable and sustainable financial footing."

The Reform, a think tank, said NHS deficits were worsening. It called for a one-time debt repayment followed by rigorous financial management and immediate administration for failing trusts.

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