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The Madness of the NHS

In this weekends Daily Telegraph the headline news is “NHS to use private firms to beat the winter crisis.” This is the madness of the NHS.

Firstly, the NHS already has contracts with the private sector for exactly this type of surgery but through the self interest of GP’s or their socialist principles GP’s refuse to make patients aware of the choices each patient has when referred to hospitals. Secondly, this shows the ignorance of the Daily Telegraph reporters as NHS hospitals have for years outsourced exactly this capacity they can not cope with to private sector. This is not news.

GP’s keep referring patients to same old local hospital without thought as to what this means to each patient or the vast management bureaucracy in the hospital that runs behind the scenes trying to work out how long each patient is waiting and when they will breach the NHS 18 week target. Hospital staff have to go round each surgeon trying to persuade them to give up another weekend or evening and operate along with all the additional theatre and support staff, all being paid at overtime rates.  Surgeon

The NHS has patient choice and plenty of capacity with the private sector through the Any Qualified Provider commissioning. The problem is that many GP’s refuse to offer choice unless they get paid a premium to do so, or, do not believe patients should be offered choice.

What should happen when a GP refers a patient is the GP or a member of his team should explain to the patient they have choices and some key points.

  1. If you wish to be treated at your local NHS hospital you may well be waiting a long time and have several appointments cancelled before being seen. If you need an operation you are likely to wait the maximum wait of 18 weeks and still be messed about at short notice. Being referred from September onwards there is a far greater chance of being cancelled due to winter bed pressures and may eventually be offered the opportunity to be treated in a local private hospital.
  2. You can select from several alternative hospitals or if the patient wishes a specific surgeon which will include private and NHS hospitals. If you choose a Private Hospital you are likely to be seen within 2-5 weeks and offered an operation date within 3 – 8 weeks. It is very unlikely but not impossible that your operation date is cancelled, but if it is, you will be operated on very soon after.

The media seem hell bent on demonising the private sector when they have been providing services to the NHS from it’s inception, to the extent that the public will fight and lobby to save a local pharmacy which is a private business or even a multi national corporation. Their local dentist was a private business but is now increasingly part of larger international business empire but not a word is said.