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Editor's blog 21st October 2008: the rationale for rationing

Good day to you. I was cut off mid-flow on day two of NHS Alliance conference coverage by various technical issues, but never fear: coverage will appear.

One of the themes of day two was a debate about rationing - the subject of Tom Smith's excellent Health Policy Today. Ben Page of MORI revealed that his firm's survey of a sample of the great Britsh public found that 41% believe the NHS should provide any effective treatment no matter what it costs. A further 31% believe that the NHS should provide any treatment, even if ineffective, no matter what costs.

This, you see, is why we don't allow a referendum on the death penalty.

Oh, and Mary Warnock said the NHS should be means-tested, because back in her day, means-testing worked in a grammar school where nobody knew whose parents paid full, assisted or no fees.

That's right, Mary. Because there are no possible visual or cultural indicators that show either relative or absolute poverty? And wouldn't have been even then? And nobody knows on which street (or even which part of the street) poor people live? We believe that, don't we?

Onwards back to the era of the panel patient and the deserving poor! Pfffft.