They just cannot see it, can they?
©Am Ang Zhang 2013
It is indeed very sad to see how modern perverse incentives that were used in other institutions were used in our NHS hospitals in one part of the
Kingdom: . England
There really is no need to look further than Scotland to see what is possible.
The figures are there for all to see and it is hard to believe that the very smart people that are currently running the country did not know.
In the brave new world,
their managers) need to perversely increase activity to survive (or collect a
good bonus before moving on or going off sick). GP Commissioners (CCGs)need to
reduce hospital referrals in order to achieve government imposed savings or if
it is run by privateers to find profits for shareholders. English Hospitals
Hospitals will fail and be bought up and the privateers will be so smart that they will only run the profitable parts.
Government will be left still running the loss making services or they could be sold out to the likes of Southern Cross .
Attempts to cull hospitals are happening in various guises and sometimes such failed. Fortunately for the government, since Les Misérables, the people may march and wave banners but they don’t do revolutions anymore. So instead of culling and closing A&Es, they downgrade them. It s a bit like, we do stomach pain but not myocardial infarcts.
I have written before that A&E is the one thing that upset planners, accountants and most importantly the new CCGs. There is a belief, rightly or wrongly that A&Es still have real DOCTORS, and not someone flown in from
or further east. Nor are they like OOH or NHS111 where the concern is about
money than your survival. As I was drafting this post another hospital is being
overwhelmed by high A&E
What is most worrying is that A&E will lead to more hospital admissions: perhaps unnecessary ones or god forbid, absolutely essential ones.
In the unholy war between CCGs that hold the money and the Hospitals that needed the money patients may either be denied treatments that were needed or perversely given investigations and treatments that were not.
Suddenly, there is going to be some killing and surprise, surprise; it is not what you think: no, not patients.
That would be too simple.
That would be too simple.
From the BMJ:
Kill the QOF
The QOF simply hasn’t worked. It is a bureaucratic disaster, measuring the measurable but eroding the all important immeasurable, and squandering our time, effort, and money. It has made patients of us all and turned skilled clinicians into bean counters. Incentives and centralised targets are under scrutiny throughout the public sector because targets just lead to gaming. It’s time to look away from the screen and at the patient once again. Turn off the financial life support and let this failed intervention die.
What happened? £10bn
We are entering the 10th year of the world’s largest public health experiment in EBM—the target driven QOF (Quality and Outcomes Framework). It has cost £10bn in direct payments to general practitioners, but this is just the tip of an expensive iceberg.
From 2004 to 2011 prescriptions for statins doubled, for angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and diabetic drugs near doubled, for antidepressants rose 60%, and for steroid inhalers rose 30%. Polypharmacy is the norm not the exception, and research evidence validates this approach.
Statins & others:
Yet statins, for instance, are supposed to reduce heart disease by 30% within a few years. The QOF has created three million new statin users, so why has there been no demonstrable effect on heart disease trends? Also we might reasonably expect within a decade to see a change in the trajectory of
life expectancy, but we have
not. Likewise the QOF was designed to improve chronic disease management in
general practice, but instead outpatient referrals have risen 5% annually, with
similar rates in acute hospital admissions. UK
This is leading to unsustainable pressure and costs throughout the NHS. Perhaps assessing the impact of QOF is impossible because there is no control group. But we can compare
UK trends with other
similar countries, and there is no evidence that healthcare is outpacing these
The problem with the NHS Reform is the NHS itself. Because it is still to be funded by Taxpayers, there is much money to be made.
It would be different if we separate out Private Health Care and State provided one.
That the management consultants found out a long time ago.
No! No! No! Let Private Providers make money from the so called NHS.
Soon the government will discover that money would drain from the state to Privateers with no improvement in the actual care delivered.
The master plan is simple: a fixed amount of money is now given to CCGs who will be responsible for the delivery of health care.
There is thus a clear separation of Primary and Secondary Care. It is akin to giving children the mortgage and meal money and that they buy primarily from mother, food, washing and accommodation. But then, there is no restriction on buying food from AQPs: other mothers, fish & chip shops, supermarkets and even McDonalds. What if the children sleep over at friends: is rent deducted.
Hospitals are now in a risky position and that means 5% of you who might be seriously ill are too. CCGs may not want to fund the treatment you need or within the time frame that you will need. A once wonderful training ground for doctors may no longer be so wonderful. There will probably be fewer functioning hospitals and soon the once prestigious world famous hospitals will just be bitter sweet memories of a few of us.
Now can you see it?
©Am Ang Zhang 2013