Rationing affecting relationships, survey finds

 NHS rationing is affecting the relationship between doctors and their patients, a new survey has found.

The survey by Pulse Magazine revealed that three quarters of GPs believe the doctor-patient relationship has been tainted by cut backs to certain treatments.

Dr Clare Gerada, Royal College of General Practitioners, said the problems of the Health and Social Care Act have resulted in patients holding GPs responsible.

Typical treatments which have been affected by a rationing include GP referrals for bariatric, hip and knee and cataract surgery.

Out of the 237 doctors questioned, nine out of 10 reported pressure to ration treatments or services over the past twelve months. Two-thirds of respondents admitted local rationing was adversely affecting standards of patient care.

More than 40% of doctors said they had changed the therapy of patients to less effective options due to rationing guidelines in the past twelve months. A third also raised issues with getting patients to guideline-directed targets.

GPs also exposed other forms of rationing with 89% finding patients had been referred back to them after missed hospital appointments and 31% claimed hospitals were overemphasising the risks of surgery in an attempt to off put individuals.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said they would be writing to the NHS to remind them that rationing on the grounds of cost was wrong.