September 13, 2006

NHS closures will 'improve care'

Today’s Guardian reports that the NHS is planning to “reconfigure” a number of health services in the UK in order to make further cost savings. A&E Departments and Maternity wards are likely to be worst hit.

David Nicholson, the man leading the reforms told the newspaper:

[changes] will be aimed at redesigning the NHS to improve care by concentrating key services in fewer hospitals

When will the NHS realise that in many cases, fewer hospitals means anything but “improved care”? In rural hospitals, many find that treatment is simply unavailable because they cannot travel to the ‘nearest’ hospital department, which thanks to these kind of NHS reforms will be further away than ever before.

Fewer departments might mean ‘cheaper’ care, but I have no idea how it will be ‘improved’ care.

- 4 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. ‘Improved care’ means the statistics will no longer include those hospitals which presently are short of money and are therefore underperforming.

    The problem with all these performance targets is that managers end up chasing those instead of doing the job they were originally hired for.

    A bit of a ‘Scooby Doo’ moment, really: “The NHS would have been okay had it not been for those meddling politicians”

    13 Sep 2006, 09:58

  2. Hamid Sirhan

    Oh fantastic news! Let’s close even more hospitals and funnel funds into our ever-increasing and desperate need for a strong, nuclear deterrent and, perhaps, a national penis-enlargement operation! Kickass!

    Our government knows what’s best for us!

    13 Sep 2006, 18:17

  3. Nick

    Acutally it’s not out of the realms of possibility that reducing the number of A&E departments could improve care.

    I’m sure I read somewhere that the French rely heavily on an Air ambulance system where there are regional A&E units. The theory is that by concentrating the specialism (treating emergency patients) the overall level of care improves because that is all those doctors and nurses do. It is also useful when there are big emergencies.

    Using specialism as an example again. In my dissertation I looked at the surgery success rates of brain tumours for a certain illness. The centres that practiced this operation more (it was relatively rare – say 1,000 cases a year nationwide) had a much better success rate. Sending patients like this 200 miles to a specialist centre will cost relatively little but the benefits could be massive with improved cure rates.

    Obviously I don’t know the specifics and it might be terrible but less beds doesn’t necessarily mean worse care!

    13 Sep 2006, 18:42

  4. Did you see The Times’ front page the other day? It was claimed (probably correctly) that hospitals in marginal Labour constituencies are likely to be fairly safe from any “improvement” measures.

    17 Sep 2006, 18:57

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