NHS – expect more, pay less.

I had a wee chuckle to myself thanks to the MSN article:

Sir Bruce Keogh, the Medical Director of the NHS, said the health service should adopt the business models of PC World or Dixons, where people expect more but pay less.

Immediately some incongruous images flashed to my mind:

– limited time offer – get your hip replaced in August and save 10%*

– bypass surgery – get your anaesthesia for free**

– book a GP appointment by 3pm today and you will be seen the next day***

As far as I know, companies save money by sacking people (the slack is picked up by the remaining employees until they cannot take it any more and quit), hiring inexperienced people as they are cheaper, putting excessive pressure on the suppliers while sacrificing quality (horse meat scandal) and moving their business online (Littlewoods, HMV and Woolworths).

Keogh forgets that NHS is not a company. It is not there to make profit but to save lives and preserve health. You cannot cut corners when it comes to health care with some half-baked fatuous schemes.

Who is going to pay for Dragons’ Den style coaching for executives? I just know it is going to be a back-slapping session with days out to encourage team bonding and to get the creativity flowing. Why not introduce an incentive scheme for employees and patients alike – present your idea and get 1% of first-year savings as a reward. These are the people who know how NHS really works and how to improve it.

Example: I have a lot of appointments in different hospitals in a 40-mile radius. Before every appointment, I get a thick, colourful glossy booklet that does not say anything I didn’t know already or would have been unable to find online. Give me an option to opt out instead of filling up my paper bin. All it would require is an extra line on the referral letter template (booklet yes/no – delete as appropriate).

Actually, stop sending me appointment letters altogether. Send me an email instead – saves paper, postage and the sanity of the poor soul who does the letter-folding and envelope stuffing. You immediately get confirmation that I received it and whether I will attend or not. It also minimises the risk of the letter getting lost and my inadvertently missing the appointment.

Speaking of missed appointments – introduce fines just like the dentist do.

There – that’s what I came up with in about five minutes. Heavens know how much money it would save but every little helps, right?

_______

* 10% discount applies exclusively to dressings.

** basic anaesthesia only – one hit with a mallet by an inexperienced final-year medical student; pharmacological anaesthesia available for £999. Terms and conditions apply.

*** next day used as an example only; usual waiting time three to five working days. We are not responsible for any resulting delays or losses.

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