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NHS England denies plan to cull older people

Thursday, 27 October 2016

NHS England denies plan to cull older people

The NHS is planning a winter cull of older people in its increasing desperation to stave off an impending financial crisis.

The startling revelation appears in a technical annex to the latest CCG operating guidance (Annex B, Information on Quality Premium), which instructs CCGs to deliver “a reduction in the number of inappropriate OAPs”.

With the ageing population routinely blamed for rising demand for NHS services as well as for the bulk of spending on adult social care, policy makers have been under increasing pressure to address the problem of older people

Commentators have warned that so-called sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) could result in cuts to services, but few expected such drastic measures.

Grey areas

The guidance goes into little detail about the timing or likely scale of the planned “reduction”, nor does it give any clue as to what constitutes an “inappropriate OAP”.

Charities are expected to oppose the plan. One said: “Obviously we’ll need to see the detail, but we’re against genocide in principle. We want to know why it only focuses on older people and fails to mention children and those of working age. This feels like discrimination.”

There are also unanswered questions about the legality of the plan, although the government has hinted that some European laws could be relaxed in the UK post Brexit, including those protecting older people from mass euthanasia.

Repeat prescription

Some believe this may not be a one-off but the first in a planned series of culls to keep NHS finances in the black.

This is strongly signalled in the guidance, where we learn that “in future years there is likely to be an expectation to reduce OAPs for all CCG-commissioned beds.”

A spokesman for NHS England categorically denied the existence of the cull plan and insisted that “OAP” stands for “out of area placement”, which refers to the practice of treating mental health patients away from their usual place of residence.

“He would say that, wouldn’t he,” said an octogenarian who only agreed to talk to us on condition of anonymity.

Conspiracies editor: Julian Patterson