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Send your photos, video, news & views by texting COUNTY GAZETTE to 80360 or email us Search: Doctors oppose charge for Somerset A&E patients 11:00am Monday 13th January 2014 in Taunton By Phil Hill Doctors oppose charge for Somerset A&E patients ONE in five patients at the Accident & Emergency department at Taunton s Musgrove Park Hospital should not go there, it has been claimed. But, despite widespread abuse of the system, Somerset doctors oppose introducing charges for A&E visitors. A Doctors.net.uk poll of 800 GPs suggested one in three supported charging 5 or 10 for some visits to deter unnecessary attendances. A Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group spokesman, who claimed 20% of A&E visits were unnecessary, said the organisation was opposed to charging. He said: Its a fundamental principle of the NHS that services are free at the point of access. The survey of GPs indicated one-third (of a sample of 800 out of a possible 40,000 GPs in England) believed a 10 charge would deter people from attending A&E departments with only minor ailments or injury. Such a charge is very likely to be a deterrent but this might risk the poorest and most disadvantaged delaying seeking treatment when they have a serious illness or injury. The spokesman said patients unable to wait for a GP appointment should call 111 for advice as A&E is for people with the most serious injury or illness. Dr Harry Yoxall, secretary of the Somerset Local Medical Committee, said: Its frustrating when people go to A&E inappropriately but the majority of GPs dont think its a good move to charge patients going to A&E because you dont want to stop people who are seriously ill or have had an accident getting the care they need. The principle of the NHS is that its publically-funded and free at the point of delivery. Taunton Deane MP Jeremy Browne said health care costs are rising sharply and ideas for raising money for the NHS are always welcome. He said: There are always concerns that some people are using A&E when they dont have a genuine emergency in order to get fast-track treatment. Even so, Id be nervous about introducing this idea the real danger would be putting off people who need urgent attention and that would clearly be unacceptable. A Department of Health spokesman said: Charging patients who use A&E goes against the founding principles of the NHS and there are no plans to introduce fees.
Each death which occurs outside an NHS hospital has been calculated to save the health system some 1,000 ($1,600) in England. On average, deaths which occur inside NHS hospitals cost the service around 3,065 (just under $5000), while those elsewhere cost 2,107 (around $3,400). Doctors have been given bonuses for drawing up end-of-life advanced care plans for patients they predict will die within a year. The payments in question apparently have the intention of keeping NHS costs as low as possible. According to documents seen by the Daily Mail on Sunday, a key objective of the project – which underwent a trial period in Englands east – was to shift the place of death away from hospitals, thus reducing …healthcare costs. I think its got everything to do with money, with the cost of a hospital bed being 200 a day, Dr Anthony Cole, acting chairman of the Medical Ethics Alliance, told the paper. He stated his belief that its advocates were mired in financial concerns, and suggested that it may result in insufficient medical care in a patients final days. The Yellow Folder pilot scheme was trialed in 41 medical practices in Ipswich and East Suffolk, and lasted from July 2011 until last month. The doctors received payment for every care home patient they successfully signed up to an end of life plan. Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which ran the scheme, would not tell the paper how much money it allocated for bonuses. Patients on the program were required to state their preferred location of death, whether they would like to be resuscitated, and their preferred drugs for the final hours of their life. An NHS Call to Action pack, available on the trusts website, cited a growing population with more complex needs as one of the main issues facing British healthcare. It stated that the number of people with multiple long term conditions [is] set to grow from 1.9 to 2.9 million from 2008 to 2018. However, people behind the development of the scheme have cited the primary motivation to be to give patients a more comfortable death. According to surveys cited by the Mail, 66 percent of people would prefer to be at home at the end of their lives, whereas only 43 percent actually do, on account of the majority being admitted to hospital. On Thursday, Britains Daily Telegraph reported that senior members of Britains upper chamber, the House of Lords, said that the NHS is being faced with bankruptcy, as it will become unable to cope with Britains aging population. One member reportedly called the system a demographic time bomb. NHS cost-cutting has been making waves in the British press over the past few days. On Saturday, it emerged that some patients are being transported to hospitals in police cars because of a massive shortage of ambulances.
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According to reports, Sehba Musharraf telephoned doctors in Cromwell Hospital and consulted over her husbands heart problem. She has been advised to shift the former president within 8 to 10 days. Musharraf is under treatment in the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC), Rawalpindi. He was rushed there after complaining of chest pains while being driven to the court where his high treason trial was due to begin. Sources said Musharraf underwent therapy of his left shoulder today, with no decision yet on his angiography. He is taking medicines for heart and other diseases, the doctors said, adding that his three arteries are blocked. Separately, US media citing sources claimed that Pervez Musharraf will soon leave Pakistan for medical treatment. In separate reports, Los Angeles Times and CBSNEWS quoting unnamed security and intelligence officials claimed that Musharraf may leave the country by the end of this month. Musharraf is expected to leave the country for medical treatment in exile, avoiding treason charges and returning to a life away from his home country by the end of January, claimed US media citing family member. It is good for everybody including Musharraf that he would go out of the country, LA Times quoted a senior security official in Islamabad, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case. Similarly, CBSNEWS also quoted unnamed family member and intelligence official, I am under the impression the Army may try to discourage the government from putting one of its former chiefs on trial, adding that He is, after all, in a military hospital right now. From there he is more than likely to go into exile for purposes of medical treatment. One of Musharrafs cousins told US media that the former presidents doctors were already seeking medical appointments for him in Britain during the second half of January, to make certain that the treatment begins as soon as he lands in the UK. Last Thursday, Musharraf was rushed to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) after complaining of chest pains while being driven to the court where his high treason trial was due to begin. The special court trying Musharraf said on Tuesday it was examining a medical report to decide whether Musharraf can be excused from appearing in court while he remains hospitalised. The treason charges, which carry the death penalty or life imprisonment under Pakistans laws, relate to events in 2007 when Musharraf, while serving as Pakistans president and military commander, imposed a nationwide state of emergency and oversaw the arrests of several judges and civil society activists. Meanwhile, a group of lawyers called on Musharraf at the hospital. According to sources, Sharifuddin Pirzada, Anwar Mansoor and Ibraheem Satti met the former dictator at the AFIC and discussed legal issues for an hour.