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NHS GP Patient Survey Targets 5.7 Million Patients

Politics / NHS Oct 08, 2009 - 12:53 AM GMT

By: N_Walayat

Politics

Nearly 6 million UK GP patients are being given the chance during 2009 to rate their GP services in terms of quality of access and service by the Department of Health funded GP Patient Survey conducted by Ipsos MORI.


The questionnaire is being sent out on a quarterly basis at the rate of 1.4 million per quarter and expected to total £5.7 million during 2009. Recipients can complete the survey online at http://www.gp-patient.co.uk

The results of the survey will be used by the NHS to allow PCT's to reward GP practices that are delivering a higher standard of access to their patients, as well as helping patients to decide which practice to register with.

The survey therefore paves the way to provide patients with the ability to rate GP surgeries ahead of the right to chose to register with ANY GP Surgery regardless of where they live, which is to be implemented during 2010 (subject to conservative government approval).

Survey Results

Results of the survey conducted between January and April 2009 have now been published and will be analysed over the coming days, including the ranking of GP surgeries for select major UK cities.

Patient Choice

The new initiative will start to deal with the estimated 30% or so of incompetent GP doctors that will face real competition and therefore need to either start doing the job they are paid to do or lose ALL of their patients to more competently run GP surgeries. It will also enable private healthcare providers to introduce surgeries in more relevant locations for patients such as near the patients workplace or even within shopping centres or super markets.

NHS Needs Market Forces

A recent BBC opinion poll on the NHS revealed that 66% of the population fears deadly NHS infections which claims thousands of lives every year because of failure of basic hygiene measures. As many as 1/3rd of people polled would avoid surgery in an NHS hospital for fear of getting an infection. The NHS routinely KILLs tens of thousands unnecessarily every year, with the number estimated for 2009 put at 35,000 with many more thousands disabled.

It may now be lost in the mists of time but there was a missed opportunity during the Thatcher years with regards market orientated reforms of the NHS with a view to putting the patient first, unfortunately of the two remaining objectives for reform during Margaret Thatcher's third term of either reform of the NHS or local government taxation, Margaret Thatcher sought to reform local government taxation by means of the community charge which became to be known as the poll tax and resulted in the downfall of her premiership. Had she chosen reform of the NHS then how things may have turned out differently for both her premiership and for the healthcare of Britain.

It is a fundamental truth of today's NHS that the patient does NOT come first, this was made clear in an opinion poll amongst 156,000 NHS staff that found that patient care is not a top priority for the NHS.

The government having so far only paid lip service to market orientated reforms and that mostly on the supply side rather than demand side. True market reforms have never been an real option as that would in effect put the power in the patients hands rather than the doctors / consultants. The NHS needs to resemble the private market place where the GP or hospital have to compete to attract patients through a record of delivering good competent healthcare. The medical profession in response to such suggestions state that the patient is incapable of making the decision of choosing who is best to treat them. Instead today patients with serious illnesses have to do far, far more than consult a few league tables and GP / hospital reviews to get competent healthcare, routinely patients have to fight tooth and nail to get effective medical treatment that is denied to all but those with the loudest voices and persistence despite their serious illnesses.

Patients are demanding of a more competent and professional health service as the patient is more or less left out of the decision making loop. The key to successful reform of the NHS is to introduce market forces into the NHS, where the money follows the patient right from GP surgeries to hospitals. Thus the healthcare provider is forced to provide competent / good healthcare otherwise the patient will go elsewhere. More so in that GP surgeries / medical institutions reviews and rankings will funnel patients and therefore money towards the better providers of healthcare, and that in essence is the benefit of patient driven market forces. Rather than the present day system where GP surgeries and facilities are maintained whether or not they provide effective healthcare.

The NHS in its present form is a funding black hole with falling productivity that is sucking in ever increasing amounts of cash in real terms. Real reforms are urgently required otherwise Britain will be heading for a health service crisis as the GDP share of health spending continues to expand from 3.5% in 1948 to 8% today to above 11% by 2020, all without any real improvement in patient healthcare.

In conclusion the money MUST walk with the patient to ensure the patient receives competent healthcare. Otherwise the system is maximized to yield the most money for the least amount of work as we have witnessed with the GP contracts.

Therefore a form of health credit card system MUST be implemented where the Patient CHOOSES which hospital or GP surgery to PURCHASE healthcare from regardless of whether it be a government run NHS institution or a privately run hospital, only then will the patient come first and receive the treatment that they deserve rather than the current half way house that costs more and repeatedly fails to deliver the price of which is unnecessary illness and early deaths.

By Nadeem Walayat http://www.marketoracle.co.uk

Copyright © 2005-09 Marketoracle.co.uk (Market Oracle Ltd). All rights reserved.

Nadeem Walayat has over 20 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 specialises on the housing market and interest rates. Nadeem is the Editor of The Market Oracle, a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication. We present in-depth analysis from over 400 experienced analysts on a range of views of the probable direction of the financial markets. Thus enabling our readers to arrive at an informed opinion on future market direction. http://www.marketoracle.co.uk

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any trading losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors before engaging in any trading activities.

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