Healthcare rationing is a regular part of the United Kingdom, which has nationalized healthcare in a way Democrats in America want to bring here.
But this rationing leads to consequences. Hundreds of elderly citizens go blind each year while waiting for eye surgeries. The latest report on the issue comes from the Times of London. The outlet reports that the latest survey from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCO) found rationing of cataract surgery continues even after guidance was issued suggesting patients not have the surgery delayed.
“The [National Health Service] has ignored instructions to end cataract treatment rationing in defiance of official guidance two years ago, a survey by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists has found,” the Times reported.
The outlet reported that removing cataracts was one of the most common NHS procedures. More than 400,000 such surgeries are conducted each year. Two years ago, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) stated that patients requiring cataract surgery should not have to wait until they are almost blind to receive treatment, yet that appears to still be the case in 2019.
“Nothing has changed,” Mike Burdon, president of the RCO, told the Times. “We can’t have a situation where Nice is set up to make these decisions and [local health groups] simply say ‘we don’t like the answer’ and deprive the elderly population of the chance of a better quality of life. I’m bitterly disappointed.”
He called cataract surgery “probably the most life-transforming procedure the NHS does.”
Helen Lee, the policy manager for the Royal National Institute of Blind People, stressed the importance of cataract surgery in a statement to the Times:
Cataracts can have a dramatic impact on someone’s ability to lead a full and independent life, potentially stopping them from driving and increasing their chance of serious injury by falling. The Nice guidelines are in place for very good reason and make it clear that cataract surgery is highly cost effective and should not be rationed. It is nonsensical for clinical commissioning groups to deny patients this crucial treatment.
NHS, naturally, pushed back on concerns. Julie Wood, chief executive of NHS Clinical Commissioners, told the Times that “Nice guidance is not mandatory and clinical commissioners must have the freedom to make clinically led decisions that are in the best interests of both individual patients and their wider local populations.” She added that “The NHS does not have unlimited resources.”
This is just the latest report on the lack of access to important eye surgeries. Last June, the Telegraph reported that patients were going blind while waiting for treatment for glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. A survey at that time found that up to 22 patients were going blind or partially blind each month waiting for treatment.
The problem was also reported in 2013. At that time, more than four in ten NHS ophthalmologists said they had patients who had gone blind waiting for treatment.
This is what will happen in America if Democrats get their way on “Medicare for all.”