The government can deem patients close to death, and remove feeding tubes to starve them to death. This was once called the Liverpool Care Pathway, which has since been renamed, but not changed.
The NHS will even cut patients off from all government care if they catch them paying for their own care elsewhere, or using natural healing methods.
Recently the NHS decided obese patients and smokers are not eligible for hip and knee replacements.
And now, the NHS is recommending doctors no longer prescribe herbal and homeopathic treatments to patients.
A report released last week by the NHS recommends what drugs and medicines doctors should no longer prescribe. Some might see this and think the health service is finally getting rid of some dangerous and expensive pharmaceuticals. But the exact opposite is the case.
Here are the guidelines for how the NHS chose what to trim:
Items of low clinical effectiveness, where there is a lack of robust evidence of clinical effectiveness or there are significant safety concerns;
Items which are clinically effective but where more cost-effective products are available, including products that have been subject to excessive price inflation; or
Items which are clinically effective but, due to the nature of the product, are deemed a low priority for NHS funding
That last bullet is especially telling. They basically keep it obscure enough so that they can recommend not prescribing anything they want. But also they admit right there that even if something works, but has a lower cost alternative, that is a good way to save money. It is this one size fits all approach which focuses more on the bottom line than on an individual patient.
Officially, these guidelines are meant to save limited resources for the NHS. But they aren’t taking a chunk out of their £9 billion budget by deprescribing dangerous and expensive pharmaceutical drugs.
Instead, they are nixing herbal treatments, on which the NHS currently spends £100,009 per year. Most other suggestions in the report cut out treatments which cost millions, or tens of millions of dollars. But these comparatively cheap solutions somehow also made it to the chopping block.
Advise CCGs that prescribers in primary care should not initiate herbal items for any new patient
Advise CCGs to support prescribers in deprescribing herbal items in all patients and where appropriate, ensure the availability of relevant services to facilitate this change.
Likewise, homeopathic cures cost the NHS £92,000 per year.
In 2010 a report by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, found that the use of homeopathy was not evidence based and any benefits to patients was down to placebo effect.
It seems hardly significant whether the cures were from placebo or not; were the patients cured? Many findings suggest the same placebo effect takes place from big brand drugs. Yet the drugs cause adverse side effects that limit the body’s natural ability to heal. The homeopathic treatments support the immune system, even if their main benefit is the mind over matter phenomenon.
But when you have single payer healthcare, these debates mean little. The central authority will decide what patients get. If patients resist, they will be cut off.
Who Made These Recommendations?
Who was it that decided to cut out natural healthy alternative medicines?
A committee of NHS officials. There is now a database which allows you to search for NHS doctors in Great Britain who have received consulting payments from drug industries. The database only goes back to 2015 and does not cover other perks doctors receive from drug companies, like free trips to conferences, or outings to sporting events.
The following NHS officials are all part of the 18 person Joint Clinical Working Group which made the recommendations.
The Committee Chair Graham Jackson received over £6,000 in 2016 and 2015 consulting for pharmaceutical companies.
Manir Hussain received over £5,600 in 2015 and 2016 for consulting work.
Robbie Turner made £3,600 over two years, mostly from Pfizer.
Duncan Jenkins comes up in the system with payments over £1,500, and David Webb got £800 in 2016.
Also involved in making the recommendations were several organizations, among them the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.
Do you think these numbers are negligible, and part of normal behavior by doctors? Or do they constitute a conflict of interest? Tell us in the comments.