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A third of GPs believe that the NHS should stop funding IVF treatment for patients with fertility issues, while one in five believe that bariatric surgery should not be funded for obese patients.
The survey of 521 GPs, conducted by media and marketing services company Cogora, also found that more than half of GPs believed people should be charged for using A&E for excessive alcohol consumption, while two-thirds felt that missed appointments should be charged.
Cogora’s Primary Concerns 2015 report – which, in total, surveyed nearly 1, 000 health professionals, including commissioners and nurses – found there was little support for alternative medicines, such as homeopathy, chiropody and osteopathy.
It comes as the NHS faces its biggest financial problems for years, which has seen commissioners tasked with saving £22bn over the next five years by NHS England and the Government.
As a result, Pulse has already revealed that CCGs across the country are embarking on rationing drives, including targeting funding for IVF despite NICE stepping in to reprimand CCGs.
Meanwhile, some commissioners are increasing the thresholds for bariatric surgery.
This is despite NICE’s most recent guidelines, published in 2014, recommended a lowering in the threshold for referral for bariatric surgery to a BMI of 30 kg/m2 for patients newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, or to appropriately lower BMIs in black or ethnic minority patients in line with separate public health guidance.
However, a significant number of GPs have given their support to IVF treatment being stopped on the NHS, with 34% calling for commissioners to withdraw funding, compared with 26% of the 291 nurses surveyed.
One female GP, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘It is very complex, but personally I don’t think infertility is a disease. I appreciate for some people it is and it’s very stressful. But it concerns me that people feel that having a child is a right.’
One in five GPs – 21% – said they believed that funding should be stopped for bariatric surgery for obese patients.
But Dr Andrew Green, chair of the GPC’s prescribing committee, said: ‘When there is pressure on what you might call basic services, it’s fairly understandable that people look to things that aren’t life or limb and think “well that should be cut”.
‘But the evidence to improvement to individuals from bariatric of surgery is quite substantial, we do many things that are less effective than bariatric surgery.’
On the issue of IVF, he added: ‘If you look at the unhappiness, distress and indeed depression that can come from having difficulty starting families, it is difficult to say they should not receive treatment.’
Cogora is a leading, pan-European media and marketing services company that sits at the heart of a highly-engaged community of 220, 000 healthcare professionals.
For over 25 years we have produced incisive and inspirational content through our market-leading portfolio of media brands: Pulse, Nursing in Practice, Management in Practice, The Commissioning Review, Hospital Pharmacy Europe and Hospital Healthcare Europe. These, in turn, provide the data and insight that give us a deep understanding of what our audiences think, what they do and what they really need.
Our in-house agencies combine these resources to create innovative and flexible solutions, educational programmes and marketing campaigns that deliver measurable, impactful outcomes.
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