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Mike Bishop: "BCCG Changes Are Stealth Cuts

"No one should be fooled that the changes announced by the Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) are either efficiency savings or an attempt to provide better services. They are quite straightforwardly cuts. By no longer funding gluten-free foods or over the counter medicines on the NHS, local residents will suffer a reduction in service and will incur direct additional expense. It may not affect you or your family. It may be a minor additional expense. But for the less well off and the sick it will be another blow to their finances.

"Only 1,000 replies were received to that consultation so maybe you weren't interested. More likely, I suspect, you didn’t know the consultation was taking place.

"Would it have made any difference what you said? Probably not. Despite claiming in 2012 that the introduction of the BCCG would result in vast savings that could be ploughed back into the NHS, the reality is that the BCCG ran up one of the biggest deficits in the country. Nevertheless, the NHS isn’t 'overspent:' it is underfunded. For that we must blame the government and its financial mismanagement, rather than the BCCG who probably had little alternative.

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