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Kent CCG announces unprecedented suspension of non-urgent surgery

03 Feb 2017

As The Guardian is reporting today, NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has immediately implemented a policy to suspend non-urgent surgery such as hip and knee surgery until the end of its financial year in April 2017 in a bid to make financial savings of £3.2 million. The CCG covers 463,000 residents. The announcement came to light in board papers published this week.

Commenting on the proposals, Miss Clare Marx, President of the Royal College of Surgeons said:
“West Kent CCG’s suspension of non-urgent surgery until April is unprecedented and unfair. Patients, some of whom may be in severe discomfort or pain, should not be made to wait longer for treatment because the CCG has run out of money and surgical patients are perceived as easily postponed.  

“The CCG is trying to make short term savings which may have major consequences for patients. While patients wait for treatment, their conditions could deteriorate, sometimes making treatment more complex and costly in the long term. In addition standing down surgeons and their teams is inefficient and a waste of scarce resource. Clinical decisions must not be made purely on a financial basis.

“Over the last few months we’ve consistently seen NHS financial pressures impact negatively on patients and policies like this indicate the situation is worsening. It’s time for the Government to be realistic about funding levels.”


Notes to editors

1. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

    For more information, please contact the Press Office:

2. Details of the CCG’s policy can be found in recent board papers:
    http://www.westkentccg.nhs.uk/EasySiteWeb/GatewayLink.aspx?alId=445342  
    http://www.westkentccg.nhs.uk/EasySiteWeb/GatewayLink.aspx?alId=444072

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