Every year, 500,000 hospital appointments will be postponed as part of initiatives to shorten the NHS’s historically long waiting list.
According to health officials, simplifying services for ailments including glaucoma and mini-strokes will reduce “unnecessary” hospital visits. Instead, GPs, opticians, and clinics will conduct additional testing.
The recommendations include that in order to decrease the number of pointless biopsies, more MRI scans would be provided to men with suspected prostate cancer, and the NHS will no longer pay for breast implant removal or infant circumcision.
Health officials hope streamlining services for conditions such as glaucoma and minor strokes could prevent ‘unnecessary’ hospital visits
The changes are part of a shake-up by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, endorsed by NHS England. The plans, which will save the NHS at least £250 million a year, will add ten conditions to a list now totaling 58 that should not be routinely provided.
NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis said the changes will prevent thousands of unnecessary referrals, “maximize efficiency for the taxpayer” and ensure “effective and efficient” treatment.
In England, a record 7.3 million people are on waiting lists. Dame Helen Stokes-Lampard, president of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, said the decisions were ‘about improving the quality of care’.