The Royal College of Surgeons has expressed extreme concern at plans to deny operations to patients in Devon.
Commenting on the new Devon CCGs proposals to limit access to surgical services, Miss Clare Marx, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, said:
“Access to routine surgery should always be based on an individual’s clinical need . The Government has been clear that restricting clinically necessary treatment on the basis of financial considerations is unacceptable. We urge the Department of Health and NHS England to review the situation in Devon if the CCG is indeed intending to deny patients treatment without enabling the clinicians and patients involved to make informed choices about their care.
“Patients should be encouraged by their surgeons to take positive steps to improve their own health, especially where it can improve the outcome of their surgery. Evidence-based guidance should be used when determining the provision of surgery. For example it is unacceptable for any CCG to have a blanket ban on elective surgery for people above a certain weight – a patient may have made substantial efforts and been successful in losing weight but in some cases it might be difficult for a patient to continue to lose weight without, for example, a hip or knee operation.
“We produce clear commissioning guidance accredited by NICE to support CCGs when commissioning surgery. Please access the full guidance here.”
Earlier this year the College published a report which found that many CCGs were ignoring clinical evidence in their commissioning policies to impose arbitrary referral criteria in their commissioning policies. This was acting to restrict access to surgery for patients. The report can be read online here.