While you may be sick of hearing about constant budget cuts throughout the NHS, it is important to take note of specific funding set backs in certain areas and try to gain an understanding of why these are being made in particular sectors.
General Practitioners told to stop providing smoking cessation services
It has recently been documented that smoking cessation services are facing cuts meaning Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are instructing GPs to stop providing smoking cessation services.
With councils pulling their funding for these services, current treatments including: Nicotine replacement therapies, bupropion and varenicline will be rationed in many areas. The CCGs argue that people stopping smoking is no longer their responsibility, however Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) states:
We are increasingly concerned that cuts in council spending, NHS cost pressures and a lack of joined-up thinking by central government are combining to block progress on cutting smoking.
With around 96,000 deaths every year in the UK being caused by smoking these cuts seem to be a backwards step in the bid to reduce the number of smokers throughout the UK.
So, are these Clinical Commissioning Groups really that cash-strapped that they have no choice but to no longer provide services which the government have always backed, or is there a deeper lying reason as to why the cuts are being made?
What is the future of smoking cessation?
With the e-cigarette market growing rapidly and being backed by leading medical professionals and reputable health organisations such as Cancer Research UK and Public Health England, are the NHS seeing this as a chance to pass the responsibility on to e-cigarette retailers?
Will the rationing of the current smoking cessation services carve the way for a medically licensed e-cigarette prescribed by the NHS?
Whatever the reason for the decision, it is probable that the growth in popularity of e-cigarettes has had an impact on the need, or lack of, for these services. While the cuts may seem like a step back at first glance, it may be that the NHS are realising that e-cigarettes are the future of smoking cessation and the demand for previous services is becoming obsolete.
Why do you think cuts are being made in the smoking cessation sector of public healthcare over other areas? Let us know in the comments below.