In the last decade doctors and nurses have increased their numbers by 35% – so one wonders how the old-fashioned half an hour appointment has now condensed down to ten minutes – did someone shrink the timetable?
Or, is it as the BMA (British Medical Association) says, down to “a fixation” with extra red tape?
But what is more shocking is the number of Senior Managers has doubled in the same time. Now it is said that there are more administrators in the NHS than hospital beds. No wonder Lord Darzi was doing his utmost to reduce the time we can stay in those beds – and whoever is the current Minister seems to be trying to cut this further. And if you want further info – Official data shows since 1995 the number of senior managers increased by 91% – but doctors and nurses still only show a 35% increase in that time.
More money is wasted by officials, with no knowledge of business finance, who are let loose to negotiate contract with the private health sector. Now, anyone running a private hospital is tasked to run that hospital at a reasonable profit; anyone with a bit of sense will realise this, so one would assume the NHS would leave contracts to be negotiated by someone who has a financial background. Contracting out to the private sector can make financial and healthy sense – provided this is done by those who know what they are doing.
But according to the BMA ‘market-driven’ and other management-speak policies have wasted around £220 million in the past five years. After being made to look fools by the doctors, who negotiated very healthy salary increases with the NHS, the department allows the same people to handle negotiations for private operations with hospitals. As a consequence only 85% of operations were carried out – leaving another big hole in the budget.
There is an equation which the NHS could do well to ponder: the taxpayer who funds the NHS expects the service to deliver reasonable care within its budget. The savvy taxpayer would be quite happy for the NHS to contract out some of those services to the private sector, provided the services provided offer value for money. But the taxpayer does not expect Administrators with no proper financial training to be let loose to play ducks and drakes with taxpayers’ money.
So lets call a halt to all those ‘market-driven’ initiatives such as GP-led health centres, Poly-clinics, Patient Choice and other trendy schemes – the public aren’t stupid, and know these disappear into a bureaucratic black hole. I am all for involving the private sector IF their care proves more effective, but don’t let Admin-babes loose to negotiate contracts of which they have no understanding.
If common sense is used, public/private funding for our health service could actually save money. It works in other countries, but they don’t expect financial babes to negotiate contracts.