Admit the reality of health rationing, says IPPR report

29 Jun 00
The government should acknowledge that rationing of services is required within the National Health Service in order to boost public confidence in state-run health care, according to an influential think tank.

30 June 2000

The Institute for Public Policy Research has published a report calling on ministers to be 'brutally honest' about the services the NHS can and cannot provide. What Business is the NHS in? by Bill New, argues that the public has realised the state cannot do everything and, by 'appearing to deceive', the government is merely damaging confidence in the service.

'There is little chance for sustaining public support for the NHS if it is continually presented as an ideal, church-like institution which would do no wrong if only sufficient resources were made available to it,' it says.

'A clear, open and honest acceptance that there is a limit to the range of services the NHS should provide would sustain public confidence in the long run.'

The role of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, which recently rejected beta interferon as a treatment for mulitiple sclerosis, should be expanded, the IPPR says.

Controversially, the report also suggests that the private sector could offer treatments that had been rejected by the NHS, offering the example of Viagra, which can be provided by private prescription.


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