I should note that our friends across the pond don't seem to suffer this as much (if at all).This BBC report from last year is not very upbeat.Surgeons raise alarm over waitingwww.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12964360Surgeons say patients in some parts of England have spent months waiting in pain because of delayed operations or new restrictions on who qualifies for treatment. In several areas routine surgery was put on hold for months, while in many others new thresholds for hip and knee replacements have been introduced. The moves are part of the NHS drive to find £20bn efficiency savings by 2015....Surgeons have described the delays faced by patients as "devastating and cruel". Peter Kay, the president of the British Orthopaedic Association (BOA), says they've become increasingly frustrated that hip and knee replacements are being targeted as a way of finding savings....A number of PCTs have been explicit about their decisions to put all routine operations on hold for several months up to April to help balance their budgets by the end of the financial year....Putting routine operations on hold means that GPs simply stop referring their patients for surgery. So although a patient might be waiting longer, this isn't recorded in the official waiting statistics. Another way of adding invisible waiting time into the system is to implement stricter new criteria which have the effect of delaying the point when a patient can be referred for treatment. An investigation by the BBC also found evidence in many PCT board papers of new thresholds being added for hip and knee replacements.DB2
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