NHS Turns to Ice Floes for Elder Care

Cost containment, National Health Service Style? Mandatory 4-month waiting periods, so the sick and elderly will go to private services or to glory, makes no never mind to the system.
Since 2006, NHS patients who need routine elective care have had the right to choose between at least four hospitals including privately-run units. But there have been claims that trusts, the local bodies that pay for treatment, restrict choice and favour some hospitals to balance their books. The panel investigated whether the allegations were true.
It found “many examples of PCTs excessively constraining patients’ ability to choose, and providers’ ability to offer routine elective care services”.
Managers restricted GPs’ ability to refer patients to some hospitals by imposing “caps” on the number a provider would be paid to treat and by imposing minimum waiting times, its report said.
Under government targets, patients should be treated within 18 weeks of referral by a GP. But even when surgeons could see them far sooner, the study found that some trusts made hospitals wait as long as 15 weeks before operating.
Some managers insisted that longer waiting times would lead to overall savings as “experience suggests that if patients wait longer then some will remove themselves from the list”. Interpreting this statement, the panel noted: “We understand that patients will 'remove themselves from the waiting list’ either by dying or by paying for their own treatment at private sector providers.
There's also this little bit, emphasis added:
The tactic forced private hospitals, which were more likely to be able to treat patients quickly, to operate as slowly as overcrowded NHS units in an “unfortunate levelling down." 
By the way, here's a list of all the operations and treatments you may not have under the NHS: cost containment, you know.

What I like is that you can't have any treatments until you are in excruciating pain, almost blind, or on the point of death. At which point, presumably, you wait four months to see if you'll die or seek care elsewhere.

A thought: since the aim of this fully developed and "model" public healthcare system turns out to be getting people into private health-care, couldn't we just cut out the middle-man and keep our private system?