Wednesday, 30 March 2011

A contagious condition – Healthbill Hysteria

It may be the nasty cold that makes my head feel as though it’s full of cotton wool, but as I sit at my p.c. to write my latest blog posting, I can’t seem to gather a single lucid comment about the Health and Social Care Bill.

Should I talk about the story in the UK Sunday Times stating that freely donated organs have been given to overseas patients in NHS hospitals, who are not being charged for the organs but are being charged for the surgery. Are they queue jumping? Is this against the wishes of the 17 million people on the organ donation register? How do the 10,000 patients waiting for transplants feel about this? But before I launch into ‘indignant from London’ mode, I check the National organ donation website where it clearly states that organs will first be offered to NHS patients but if no suitable matches are found, rather than waste the organs, these are given to overseas patients. These operations can bring valuable income to Hospital Trusts and ensure that an additional life is saved.

That’s OK then – I won’t worry too much about organ transplantation and competition.

Perhaps I should discuss the privatisation of the blood donation service? 1.4 million donors freely giving 2 million units of blood a year. The well run service has already saved £3m in administration costs since 2008, could a private company improve on this? And will they pay for blood? Will there be a competitive market for blood?

I can feel panic rising.

What about the fact that Andrew Lansley has changed the wording of his bill to say that commissioning of services can be open to ‘any qualified provider’ instead of ‘any willing provider’. One would hope that the GP consortia would have included some quality assurance standards within the commissioning process.

Not particularly reassuring.

Then there are the adverts now appearing in the press and recruitment websites, looking for chief executives/commissioners/bid experts to work with GP consortia. Six figure salaries.

Doesn’t bode well for savings methinks.

Then I read that Claire Gerada, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners estimates that the cost of taking GPs out of their consulting rooms to run commissioning consortia will cost the NHS around £300m a year. When are they going to find time to see patients?

Now the hysteria is taking hold.

I then see in the Health Services Journal that Andrew Lansley is hitting back at his critics saying some of the concerns are ‘not valid’ and oppositions from the unions was ‘not necessarily representative’ . No facts or figures to verify his comments of course.

I’m just going to have a lie down……


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