"The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it"
Aneurin Bevan

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Spending Review Website

This Conservative government is rapidly gaining a reputation for not having a clue about the internet and "social media". We have seen the laughable attempts at "crowdsourcing" through Nick Clegg's vanity project the "Your Freedoms" web site (which mostly attracted vile racist suggestions) and the Treasury's spending review website is not much better. Of course, we all know that the reason for these websites is to give legitimacy to what the Conservatives have already decided to do, but you would have thought that they could have put some effort into making it appear that they are paying the suggestions some attention.

After receiving some 44,000 responses the Spending Review website is now asking the public to rate the suggestions. My guess is that this is just a displacement activity to get people to waste their time reading this drivel when they could spend their time reading actual government policy and then taking action. Lets have a look at some of the suggestions for the NHS.

Get the ratio of people managers to beds right. If you have more people managers than beds you're doing something wrong.
What is the point of this statement? It is just saying "do your job properly"? Does the questioner actually know what the ratios are, and does s/he have an idea of what the ratio should be? As I have mentioned before, just 3.6% of NHS employees are managers as opposed to the population as a whole where 16% say that they are managerial (ONS figures).

Here's one that crops up several times:

Charging for doctors appointments so people don't go for minor things.
So what are these "minor things"? They don't give a list. I have a clue for them: the patient is not qualified so how will they know what is minor and what is a symptom of something serious? I think that charging any money at all will break the unique relationship that patients have with the NHS, so I don't want to advocate any such scheme. However, if the respondent had thought just a little bit they may have decided that fines are a better scheme because the people who would be penalised are those who have actually transgressed. (Of course, fines are not a good idea because they could dissuade someone with a serious condition who is frightened of being fined.)

Turn the heating down in hospitals by 1 degree. Hospitals are always too hot surely they can save on the heating a bit.
What? Does the person who has suggested this know that the people in hospitals are often extremely ill and some cannot control their own temperature? Hospitals are not overheated wastefully and wilfully, the temperature is set for clinical reasons. You cannot simply make some blanket suggestion of reducing the heating. Now if s/he was talking about clothes shops, I would agree: they are overheated and turning their heating down would affect no one adversely. But you cannot say the same thing about a hospital.

Just to show that Nick Clegg's vanity site is not the only place for racists:

Introduce strict controls on the useage of the NHS, particularly for non- nationals
Oh dear this must be from a Daily Mail reader: "foreigners are using our hospitals and not paying". Non-nationals do not get free healthcare. If they are from the EU then they are covered by reciprocal agreements, if they are from a non-EU country then they will get a bill. Simple. The fact is, since the Internal Market was introduced the exact cost of every treatment is recorded (this is why there are so many administrators), so it is possible to present a bill for treatment. My local hospital is in a tourist town and quite a few tourists end up in A&E. The hospital has a department specifically for issuing bills to non-nationals and ensuring that they are paid (including the use of debt collection agencies in the patients' country). A little bit of research could have prevented the need for this suggestion.

Gosh I am getting tired of reading this drivel, I'll go and do something more productive.

1 comment:

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