Wednesday, May 29, 2013

NHS & Hong Kong: Health Care Class Struggle!

 I have always maintained that we were distracted into talking about GPs and ignore the most important aspect of Health Care in most countries: specialist care. We are fast heading towards a new class struggle: Health Care Class Struggle: Private & Dumped Public.                                 

                                    US $ 50,000 for Stent Procedure©Am Ang Zhang 2011
In most western and not so western countries the demand for Hospital Specialists (Consultants in England) has never been higher.

Check out the Mayo clinic.

A friend had a STENT procedure In Hong Kong (like the one Prince Philip had) for a reasonable US $ 50,000.  I worked out that his cardiology specialist is earning a humble $10 million a year.

You begin to get the picture that for a long time, NHS is extremely good value.

When there are not enough specialists to go round in any country money is used to ration care. Just look at Canada.

There is unfortunately little realisation that soon, a large number of consultants would no longer be working in NHS Hospitals.

Stent, Hips and others

They will be working for Private Hospitals that initially will be offering services to NHS patients. But because of shortage of the said consultants, those that are concerned that at 78% obstruction, their heart and life may not last the wait and they will pay for the job.

My friend thought it was a bargain at US$ 50,000.

What about your painful hips, the CCG may decide to impose a wait time to limit cost. So you too will pay for it. That is what my golfing friend did in Flroida for a bargain US$90,000 as he paid a co-pay of 25%.

So there are not enough Consultants and shortage creates demand and you can name your price. Consultants do not really want to waste time in CCGs arguing about the price of Stents or Hips.

Soon with changes in the amount of private work FT Hospitals may do, what successful, skillful and sought after Consultant would want to stay within the NHS only to have his pension contribution increased and ultimate pension reduced.

Why not be 100% private and where are FT Hospitals going to find consultants for the phantom private patients.

Private hospitals will continue to provide NHS work but more to fill in their money making gaps. Very smart management indeed.

Consultants in private hospitals are generally extremely well treated, not like the way CEOs of old NHS Hospitals used to sideline them.

In Hong Kong, private Consultants work with several private hospitals and all private hospitals knew that these are the geese that lay the golden eggs. All hospitals provide excellent facilities for them including free valet parking as time is precious.

Could this be why so few consultants are objecting to the changes? I remember one such Private Hospital in Sheffield where there is no charge for parking and there was even free Cappuccino!

What about the quality of work?

Remember, in England, NHS or Private, they are the same consultants.

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