Sunday, 16 January 2011

NHS Reform

From the BBC:-

Hospitals may have to close under reforms to the NHS in England, a report from the NHS Confederation suggests. 

Huh? A huge building built for medical purposes, filled with lots of specialist medical equipment is going to close? Even if we went for full-on free market reform of the health service, someone is going to buy up those buildings and use them to run a hospital, even if it's only for £1.

The findings, reported in the Observer, criticise ministers for not explaining the need for the reforms, describing some of the process as "extraordinarily risky." 

That's just absurd. There's simply no evidence that opening up something to the market is "extraordinarily risky". We've opened up the airline market and the optician market in my lifetime, and there has been no problem in terms of safety with either. And I guarantee this: if any private hospital was like Stafford Hospital, they'd be out of business within a very short period of time, because people would tell their GP that they'd rather wait and go elsewhere.

The confederation represents bodies such as foundation hospitals, primary care trusts and doctors' groups.
According to The Observer, the NHS Confederation report will also raise concerns over the new system under which consortia of GPs will be able to send patients to whichever provider they judge will offer the best treatment, warning that this will force the NHS to shrink in order to make space for new healthcare providers.
The policy of "price competition", allowing hospitals to undercut one another to attract patients, poses a risk to standards of care, the report is expected to warn.
Written as though the NHS' standards of care were something to cheer from the rooftops. Here's my guess: you could cut 10% off what the NHS costs for operation, make a profit and still run it more efficiently and to the same clinical standards.

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