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NHS cash crisis in Kent halts non-urgent surgery for 1,700 patients until April

An NHS body has run so short of money that it has banned patients in its area from having non-urgent surgery for up to 102 days in an unprecedented move that doctors have condemned as unfair and damaging.

Around 1,700 patients will be affected by West Kent clinical commissioning group’s (CCG) attempt to save £3.2m by delaying non-urgent operations from 20 December last year until the new financial year starts in April.

The CCG has introduced what the Royal College of Surgeons says is the longest ban in health service history on patients undergoing surgery to relieve pain, immobility, disability and other problems. The 1,700 patients include those waiting to have a new hip or knee fitted.

It is the latest example of cash-strapped CCGs implementing controversial restrictions on patients’ access to treatment which doctors have agreed they need. It follows a series of rows over the growing number of England’s 209 CCGs rationing care, including to smokers and those who are obese.

Read more in the Guardian.

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