Top docs fight for more ops

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HUNDREDS more city patients could have to suffer in silence before the NHS will pay for the surgery they need.

New budget-cutting guidelines have already sparked concern among hospital consultants, who this week wrote to NHS Milton Keynes in protest.

They fear some of the suggested £22 million worth of cuts would be unfair to patients.

Worst hit would be patients, mainly elderly, needing either hip or knee replacements or cataract surgery.

If someone can walk more than 250 metres – nowhere near enough to get the average person to their local shop – they will be denied hip or knee replacements, the new guidelines rule.

And if a cataract sufferer has two thirds of their vision in one eye – even if they are blind in the other – they will also be refused help.

The consultants this week joined forces to pen a joint response to the purse-holding NHS asking for the new criteria measures to be scrapped.

They say the qualification for surgery should be measured by the need and lifestyle of individual patients.

Factors such as quality of life, the ability to drive and the desire for independence among elderly people should be considered, they say.

They have also hit out at the “scoring restrictions” placed on knee and hip replacements and insist they have no validation.

Other causes for consultant concern include plans to refuse surgery for the debilitating carpel tunnel syndrome unless the case is “severe,” and plans to save £150,00 on drug treatment for the city’s 321 HIV positive patients.

Meanwhile there are worries in the maternity department about plans to save a whopping £1.4 million by cutting back on Caesarean births and unscheduled antenatal admissions.

The department has only recently won back women’s confidence with major improvements following a series of problems, including two tragic baby deaths.

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