NHS postcode lottery is STILL with us

The Patients’ Association highlights this evil hasn’t been banished

saying the Department of Health has published a report on the variation

in care across the UK, called The “Atlas of Variation”.

This report is such a disappointment, after all the promises, one wonders what the Coalition were about banging drums and complaining about the NHS.  They don’t seem to have done anything concrete, yet;  we still have same ‘old’ NHS.

The PA say report “compares Primary Care Trusts’ (PCT) and Strategic Health Authorities’ (SHA) performance in a variety of areas from cancer to diabetes, and goes on to say the report reveals the shocking postcode lottery that still exists across the UK with Trusts failing to provide consistent care”.

Health Minister Earl Howe said, “Our vision is for a patient-centred NHS that achieves health outcomes that are amongst the best in the world. Making this information available to commissioners and patients will help them to identify and address unwarranted variation to better meet the needs of their local populations. Doctors know what treatment is best for their patients and that is why we are getting rid of top-down management and putting them in the driving seat.

Er – not in our neck-of-the-woods, your Lordship.  The local LINk (Local Initiative Network ) met this week, and committee members pointed out the cuts in lower management i.e. nurses, clinical nurse specialists, physios, that are being planned in our area in cancer, diabetes, heart, mental health and other services.  But so far we haven’t heard a peep out of management to say their jobs are on the line.

“Our historic commitment to protect health spending means that funding for the NHS will increase in real terms every year, so that we can continue to provide the best value from our protected health budget and make every penny count.”  Does he live in same world, one wonders?

The real picture

Commenting on the release of the report, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, Katherine Murphy said, “We welcome this report into variations in healthcare across the UK and it reveals some of the stark differences in the quality of care people receive. Patients should be able to access high quality healthcare no matter where they live. It is only by identifying those areas that need improvement that we can eliminate the postcode lottery.

“While the report is intended to be for commissioners, patients deserve the chance to see whether the PCT is performing well or not. This report lets patients see which of five performance bands their PCT sits in using the map but it is not possible to identify where individual PCTs sit within that band. It is not possible to effectively compare individual PCTs.

“Patients need to have access to meaningful information on their healthcare in order to allow them to call for change where it is needed.”

The performance bands put PCTs in one of five groups ranked from high to low against a series of measures.

To see the full report, please visit http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2190331/qipp_nhsAtlas-LOW_231110.pdf

Londoners have a chance to voice their opinion

by signing up to the Patients Association Focus Group in London – Choice and Rights in the NHS – no doubt other areas will follow, just ask.

The focus group will take place on Friday 10th December in central London from 12.00 – 15.00 pm and will include lunch. The PA are looking for participants from London to attend, so if you think you would be interested, please contact Rachit Buch on Rachit@patients-association.com or 0208 423 9111 and we will provide more details.

And I could be for the high jump – I have used the Dept Health logo at the top of the page, out of devilment.  I shouldn’t do this without asking permission, but after 4 pm on a Friday, who is there in Whitehall to ask?

So if I get marched off to the Tower – throw me some buns (preferably chocolate).

One thought on “NHS postcode lottery is STILL with us

  1. Michael Cure December 3, 2010 at 6:42 pm Reply

    EXACTLY HOW HOWE ?

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