Friday, November 23, 2007

Outposts of the Stalinist regime

Arguments about health care and privatisation never take long to get heated, hence this little rant is not intended to be a critique of privatised health care as an entity, it is a critique of the half witted way in which the Department of Health has engaged and used the private sector in recent years.

Primary Care Trusts are the embodiment of the utter inefficiency and incompetence that New Labour represent, and Dr Rant has been covering in great detail one salient case study of how tax payer's cash is being frittered away in the pursuit of misguided ideology. Private is not always best, as public is not always best; the argument is clearly rather more complicated than this and revolves around the context in which the different sectors are used.

An ISTC (Independent Sector Treatment Centre) has been paid up front by a PCT (Primary Care Trust) for years of work that it will not be able to carry out, but the PCT is trying to level the playing field by bribing patients and GPs to send their patients there. This makes a complete mockery of the government's 'patient choice' agenda, it really should be renamed 'government choice' for the sake of accuracy. In fact PCTs are behaving in a rather Orwellian manner in trying to force work to the failing ISTC, this is taken from a letter sent by the PCT to a GP:
"I am however more concerned to hear your views and ideas concerning this facility, and would like the opportunity to visit with you and your clinical team."

The PCT would not for one second consider that its own actions were of great concern, even though it should, given the many millions it has squandered on wasteful schemes like this. So instead the PCT drones dogmatically try to convince everyone that their way is right, this is rather reminiscent of central government's behaviour; instead of learning from their large errors, they live on in a state of complete denial and refuse to acknowledge any culpability. It is no wonder that it takes the government a rather long time to learn from its errors, and this does somewhat stifle progress.


Roger Thornhill said...

This is another attempt to create a private monopoly operating under State concession. It is the worst kind of environment - people are forced to pay for a profit making entity and forced to use it with little or no choice.

One wonders if these "private schemes" are just created and allowed to screw up as a way of keeping the entire NHS edifice udner State control.

Trooper Thompson said...


"This is another attempt to create a private monopoly operating under State concession"

You're right. We are misled to see things in terms of the left/right paradigm, so whilst the right argue for privatisation, and the left argue for socialism, all the while a hideous hibrid of the two grows up. The name I'd give it is corporatism.

Anonymous said...

Corporatist or Nazi?
I think the Nazis ran the German economy like this - private companies which in fact were run at the behest of, and for the benefit of, the Nazi party.

Simon Fawthrop said...

"The name I'd give it is corporatism."

Thats what we had in the 60's and 70' and look what a fucking mess that left to be sorted out on in the 80's.

Anonymous said...

Totally off topic but I'm really pissed in both senses of the word. Yes, John Howard was a weasel, but Kevin Rudd is a career public servant who is as capable of running Australia as a gerbil. And in my seat of Dawson, the great Australian electorate, in their infinite "wisdom", have voted in a complete and utter fucking twatting cunting tossing useless cunting fucking wanking arsehole cunt of a tossing shithead by the name of James Bidgood who is a real shitting complete utter tosser. It just goes to show that you can't trust aussies to get anything right. "Oh, we have record low unemployment and a booming economy, let's risk it all by voting in a bunch of inexperienced, ineffectual, intellectually challenged tossers. And for real good measure, let's vote in James fucking tossing wanking Bidgood in Dawson because by any standards James Bidgood is a complete and utter fucking cunt of the very first order.
And I don't swear, but I am so utterly discombobulated with the electorate, Kevin Rudd is one thing, but James cunting Bidgood really is something fucking else.

Anonymous said...

So you don't actually like James Bidgood, then?

Mulligan said...

They're all at it.

The Irish Government sends numerous patients to have relatively minor operations at a top private clinic in England near me. Each patient gets flights and transported both ways from airport by Mercedes E Class, and they all get their own car even if two patients travel on same flight. Additionally they can bring a partner who will be put up in a local hotel.

Politicians everywhere, interested in statistics and headline figures and don't give a stuff how much taxpayer's money it costs.

Anonymous said...

Dr R -

Surely having an ISTC increases patient choice? Also, I expect that as with most private sector healthcare providers the ISTC only employs docs who are already on contract with the NHS. In this case I would assume the same docs who work at the Nuffield. Please clarify.

Can you provide any evidence that this particular ISTC is performing poorly?

And could you also clarify whether this Orwellian plot is originating from the PCT or DOH?

Also, you say that patients are being bribed. How so? I'm assuming you mean transport. Patients who are entitled to free transport are given free transport as far as I am aware. If we are talking about hip replacements than presumably they have mobility problems and are therefore entitled.

All NHS Trusts are held accountable for their actions through:

1. The complaints process (ok, iffy)
2. Clinical Negligence claims
3. The GMC

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