NHS GP Standards in Free Fall, Complaints Soar by 23%, GMC Sticks Head in SandPolitics / NHS Sep 19, 2012 - 02:08 AM GMT
To be blunt, NHS GP's are increasingly NOT doing their jobs, ignoring patient symptoms, fail to refer even misleading patients that a referral has been made, forcing patients to pay for routine referrals with the icing on the cake of obnoxious reception staff who see their jobs as doing their up most at hindering patients in pursuit of competent healthcare. This is the message from the latest GMC report that concludes that patient complaints have soared by 23% during 2011, that is resulting in patients increasingly being forced to pay to see competent private GP's therefore in effect patients are being forced to pay twice for healthcare, once through high extortionate taxes to fund the life-styles of increasingly part-time NHS GP's (3day surgery consultation weeks) and then again for actual diagnoses and referral.
In response to the damning report GP leaders have sought to stick their heads in the sand and blame patients for complaining about the "FREE Service", when in reality it takes some one very brave to complain against lack of competent GP services for all of the consequences in terms of potential black listing by GP practices that tends to take place against those that complain.
Many GP's seem to have forgotten the fact that the patients sat in front of them have had no choice but to PAY for their GP services, for had the patient the choice then they would be sat in front of a far more competent GP elsewhere because GP's operate under local monopolies that make it near impossible for patients to choose their GP practice, this lack of competition for patients means that ALL GP practices are in a race to the bottom of increasingly only going through the motions of providing GP services rather than that are of any real value to patients and hence triggering soaring complaints, let alone the reality of patients not being treated for illnesses that will ultimately become life threatening or at the very least crippling resulting in far greater cost to the NHS.
The complaint often put forward by GP's for the lack of competent health service delivery is lack of government funding that does not stack up to scrutiny as the NHS budget under Labour had grown from £40 billion in 1997 to £121 billion for 2009-2010. NHS budgets increasing in line with inflation (CPI) would have seen the budget rise to stand at £51.6 billion, and probably nearer £60 billion to allow for an ageing population. So the Labour government had in effect spent an extra £60 billion a year, in effect paying for two NHS's despite the public being in receipt of only one. The conservative government has continued pouring money into what amounts to the NHS black hole albeit at a lower inflation rate of about 4%, which brings the NHS budget to now stand at over £130 billion per year.
So where has the money gone ?
For the answers to that we need only look at the pay of doctors, as illustrated by the Labour parties disastrous 2002-2003 GP contracts that sent annual GP pay rises soaring into the stratosphere, culminating in pay rises of more than 30% per annum, whilst GP's cut back on hours worked.
Similarly, the latest coalition government reforms for GP consortia to take control of the NHS commissioning budgets are also resulting in a similar disastrous outcome of worse service at far greater cost as a Channel 4 investigation revealed :
NHS GP Doctors Putting Profit Before Patient Care, Channel 4 News Investigation
During 2011 a Channel 4 News investigation charged NHS Doctors with the subversion of the the coalitions governments NHS reforms to result in NHS doctors pocketing all of the cash saved as a consequence of the NHS reforms, which matches my own analysis of a year earlier that the Coalition Governments proposed reforms were fatally flawed in that they allowed GP's to profit from patient care.
"Your doctor making a profit out of your health care, your GP Sending you to a clinic that he or she owns shares in, we are seeing the biggest shake up of the NHS in its history, Channel 4 news can reveal tonight that there is nothing on the legislation currently before parliament to prevent the outcome no one wants, doctors putting profit before the care of patients, in our special report tonight we show how the new arrangements will create fundamental conflicts of interest potentially harming the trust at the very heart of the doctor patient relationship". Channel 4 News
Channel 4 News investigation key points:
- Serious flaws in the Governments NHS reforms legislation, it's failure to protect patients against fundamental conflicts of interest, it allows GP's to put profit before patient care.
- All of the monies saved will go into the pockets of NHS GP's and doctors.
- GP's during patient consultations factoring in the profit they will make on their diagnoses.
- GP's referrals on the basis of how much commission they will earn from the heath institution.
- GP referrals to health clinics that the GP's own shares in.
- New private health clinics being set up with a view to making profits so that they can floated onto the stock market at huge profit for share holding GP's
- GP's get access to dip their hands into the annual £80 billion pot of money meant for patient care.
- GP's draw up the rules themselves on the conflict of interest, akin to writing 100 times, "I promise, I will not fiddle the patients"
Under the previous Labour government patients were treated as credit cards to swipe in and out of door ways as fast as possible to maximise profits. Under the Coalition government patients will now become cash cows to milk to the fullest extent possible, what's best for the health of patients won't even factor into the thought process during GP consultations - "If I send Patient X to Clinic Y for Operation Z, my consortia will earn a commission of £2,000".
Sheffield NHS GP Consortia's Example
The city of Sheffield illustrates how the implementation of Coalition government reforms is proving to result in the exact opposite anti-competitive consortia's, as virtually all of the Sheffield NHS 92 GP Practices have signed up with one of of 4 geographically located GP Consortia's.
- Central Sheffield Consortium
- HASC ( Hallam & South Consortium)
- North Sheffield Consortium for Health
- Sheffield West Consortium
The NHS GP reforms being implemented are pushing towards the worst of both worlds, i.e. no market competition and unprecedented GP control over NHS funds that in significant part will be funneled into the back pockets of NHS GP's via Consortia profits being paid out as dividend to GP partners and eventual huge windfall profits as consortia's are floated onto the stock market.
Another example is the latest baldrick-esk cunning plan out of the NHS is for Britains best and brightest doctors and consultants to set-up 'NHS' hospitals abroad at huge tax payer expense to treat foreign patients under the illusion that this will generate profits that will be reinvested into the UK NHS. The new initiate amounts to Britain's best doctors being allowed to market their skills to foreign institutions with a view to being head hunted by foreign health service providers all at tax payers expense, and it is only those that foreign health services don't want that will return to NHS UK. The net result is for an officially sanctioned NHS brain drain that tax payers are funding, just as incompetent politicians in the past and present have already been duped by highly intelligent doctors into programme's that financially benefit GP's to the detriment of patient's as the above examples illustrate.
The NHS Health Credit Card Solution
The race to the bottom can only be be ended if there is real patient choice, not only for GP's but also hospitals and other health institutions right across the country where treatment is sought which requires real reform of the whole NHS health care system from diagnosis to treatment of all patients . An important element would be to place the power to purchase healthcare into the hands of the patients by means of an NHS Health Credit Card system, that enables patients to purchase health services from any GP practice or hospital regardless of whether it falls under the NHS umbrella or is fully private, so that both patients and health practitioners would be fully aware of the financial transaction involved in the purchase of the health service, which is set against the current system where patients are made to feel that they may be wasting the GP's time so are easily put off by the practiced dismissive attitude of most GP's during initial consultations, which means the medical condition of patients reaches a far more serious state and this proved more costly for the NHS to treat.
Patients would have a choice of covered core treatments for illnesses or injuries, where they would have the option of paying to top up treatments with their own money depending on the institution that they seek to purchase treatment from, or for other extra's including IVF etc. This would have the effect of reducing the cost of the NHS whilst introducing greater efficiency into the NHS as the majority of patients would only choose those health service institutions that are ranked as delivering a good service. The NHS Health credit card would revolutionise the way healthcare is delivered in the UK, much as supermarkets revolutionised food delivery and choice during the 1980's, as heath supermarkets would spring up all across the country that would maximise efficiency and standardise quality of service delivery as they competed to offer a wider range of health services than anything a bureaucratic top down health care system could ever hope to provide.
The health care credit card system could be further enhanced by workers directly contributing to their health care plans that they can claim upon to purchase 'extra' services at a later date, much as workers today contribute into private pension schemes.
The impact of this would be to greatly REDUCE the cost to taxpayers whilst at the same time delivering better health services, a win, win outcome for the people of Britain as opposed the current system of an out of control unproductive £130 billion National Health Service that attempts to mask failure to deliver with phony statistics and propaganda of a "free for all service" that does not match real patient experience.
Source and comments - http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article36599.html
By Nadeem Walayat
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Nadeem Walayat has over 25 years experience of trading derivatives, portfolio management and analysing the financial markets, including one of few who both anticipated and Beat the 1987 Crash. Nadeem's forward looking analysis focuses on UK inflation, economy, interest rates and housing market. He is the author of three ebook's - The Inflation Mega-Trend; The Interest Rate Mega-Trend and The Stocks Stealth Bull Market Update 2011 that can be downloaded for Free.
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