General Article NHS rationing: we need honest politicians to tackle the taboos

Topic Selected: National Health
This article is 9 years old. Click here to view the latest articles for this topic.

I’ve just taken part in a discussion on BBC Radio Kent on the emotive topic of IVF on the NHS. No one can deny, including myself from personal experience, that trying to conceive for some couples is an emotional rollercoaster. The current concern in Kent from infertility consultants is that new guidelines will reduce the availability of IVF to couples in Kent. Before we dismiss this with a ‘they would say that, wouldn’t they’, it is vital to look at the bigger picture.
There are two interconnected big taboos on which politicians owe it to the public to open up the debate, but which most seem to regard as the third rail. The first taboo is being honest about NHS funding. The second is deciding what the NHS covers. Demand for healthcare always has and always will outweigh supply. How many times have we heard politicians say that the NHS has, and always will be ‘free at the point of demand’, and will provide the ‘best’ healthcare? It’s not true. We are victims of our own success: resear...

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