chapter  10
10 Pages

Rationing and resources

ByVictoria Tippett

Famous ethicists who write about healthcare rationing include John Rawls and Norman Daniels. Rawls described the 'veil of ignorance' for just distribution of any resource. This chapter explores how resources can be fairly distributed and their effects maximised for the benefit of all patients. There have been several cases where patients have attempted to bring and action against the Secretary of State for failing to provide for their particular health needs. The aim of the National Health Service (NHS) has always been to deliver healthcare free to all at the point of need. The NHS Act gives the Secretary of State a statutory duty to provide hospital accommodation. While the Secretary of State controls overall funding, from 1980 health authorities have been required to balance the own individual budgets. Primary care trusts control local health budgets and allocate resources. Governments set the health budget and weigh the demands of the NHS against the defence or social services.