Systematic rationing of NHS in prospect?

NHS England (NHSE) has indicated that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) will be asked to publish “affordability and workforce assessments” of future recommendations on treatments – for example, for conditions like dementia, arthritis and blindness – so the NHS can work out what it can pay for. This follows the Chancellor’s budget decision to give the NHS an ‘extra’ £2.8 billion over three years, rather than the £4 billion that NHSE said was needed.

A cynic might think that the very public wrangle between the government and NHSE, in which NHSE’s Chief, Simon Stevens is cast as the good guy trying but failing to look out for the NHS, has been stage-managed to ‘soften up’ the public and make the principle of rationing NHS treatment more acceptable.

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