Health service to consider withdrawing treatments: Labour claims hidden agenda for switching patients to private care. Colin Brown reports
Monday 26 April 1993
The instructions to the management executive's business plan, a copy of which has been obtained by the Independent, appear to contradict Mrs Bottomley's rejection of explicit rationing in a speech in March to the British Medical Association.
The plan says the Secretary of State has ordered the executive to conduct a 'fundamental review of health expenditure to distinguish clearly between the essential costs of high priority spending, which will continue to be funded, and avoidable spending which cannot be afforded.
'With a focus on the medium to longer term, identify areas where better targeting can be achieved or from which the public sector might withdraw.'
The plan, which was placed in the House of Commons library at the end of last week, took Opposition leaders by surprise. David Blunkett, the Labour spokesman on health, said: 'This is very significant. If this direction is followed, it will lead to a residual NHS, a two-tier service and the abandonment of responsibility by the Department of Health for key areas of treatment and care.'
Mrs Bottomley used her speech to the BMA to signal her opposition to the idea, developed in Oregon in the United States, for limiting health costs by drawing a line between the items which would be available on the NHS, and those which would not.
A spokesman for the Department of Health denied that it contradicted Mrs Bottomley's speech to the BMA, in which she said that each level of the NHS had its own role to play in priority setting.
'The role of the Government is to take strategic decisions, but it is not the best level at which to take decisions on the clinical priority of individual patients. These decisions must be based on local knowledge,' he said.
The plan does not suggest what items may no longer be available on the NHS, although there has been continuing pressure for the NHS to end cover for tattoo removal, benign 'lumps and bumps' such as warts, and non-life-threatening operations, such as cosmetic surgery and some procedures on varicose veins. Mr Blunkett said it was part of the Government's hidden agenda for switching more patients to private care.
A leaked internal memorandum shows that the social security ministers, who spent the weekend reviewing the future of the welfare state, are preparing to tax invalidity benefit from next April, according to Gordon Brown, the shadow Chancellor.
The memorandum by social security officials says ministers 'can see the attraction of bringing the benefit into tax' and the officials say they 'understand current thinking is for implementation from April 1994'.
Taxing the benefit was among options considered by a seminar of ministers at Chevening in Kent. They also discussed plans for tightening the rules for receipt of invalidity benefit; raising the women's retirement age from 60 to 65 years; and long- term proposals to means-test state pensions and child benefit.
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 4 Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
- 5 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Greece elections: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras takes aim at 'neo-liberal' Europe as country gears up for prolonged austerity battle
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Pornhub star Mia Khalifa receives death threats after being ranked the site's top adult actress
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind are working with this Co-educatio...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: We require a teacher of Textiles for this c...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: We require a teacher of English for this co...
£16000 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...