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Sunday, 16 January 2011

Beware doom merchants with a vested interest

"Hospitals will have to close, patient care could be hit and treatment rationed by GPs because of the government's controversial shake-up of the NHS, health bosses and medical leaders have warned."
The biggest restructuring of the service since its creation in 1948 is described as "extraordinarily risky" by NHS leaders and medical groups in a new report.
The analysis by the NHS Confederation – comprising the British Medical Association, the Faculty of Public Health and the royal colleges representing GPs, surgeons and hospital doctors – comes ahead of publication of the government's flagship Health and Social Care Bill on Wednesday.

Enough of this claptrap. Let's just stop for a minute and consider why the BMA, faculty of Public Health and various surgeon's colleges are saying this.  s it because they look after the interests of the patient?  Hardly.  Don't be fooled.  To put it politely, they are collectively the TUC of the National health service looking after the interests of their members.

So what are they worried about?  Is the government threatening to shut vast swathes of the NHS and put them out of work.  Hardly.  The government intends to commission the same work and more as the population ages, so why are they making a fuss?

the simple answer is that many of the changes to be proposed will get rid of a lot of Spanish practices in the NHS, moving some care from secondary care (hospitals) to primary care (day clinics) where the cost of patient care is far lower.  Gone will be the easy life of the consultant surgeon who wants a fully staffed operating theatre for even the most routine operations (and the cancelled operations because X or Y wasn't available). With it goes the overgenerous overtime that only came about because of "inefficient administration" (for that read the difficulty of getting so many ducks in a row so tha operations had to be performed outside normal working hours at inflated rate).

In comes competitive working as GP's commission services from the most efficient hospitals. But in the meantime expect more squeals and threats from the vested interests whose fingers are firmly stuck into an NHS pie that costs more than the country raises in income tax..

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