Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Messing about with the NHS

The Wizard Of Con is at it again. Here he uses two reports to announce changes in the NHS. Just how many of the 'driven-past' hospitals have spent how much in upgrading facilities that will now be ignored? Concentrating resources in a few hi-tech locations may be outwardly sensible but there is the 'all eggs in one basket' syndrome. MRSA, union problems and local utilities can put a expensive and dedicated site out of use very quickly. One of the strengths of the last Christmas Rush on intensive care units was the ability to shuttle patients around from receiving hospital to one which had bed space available.
In addition, there is the perfidy angle of this gubmint. Very soon, they will produce their usual slanted statistics 'clearly showing' that the driven-past hospitals really do very little and can be closed. They will need to do something to find a saving that will permit their desired 66% pay rise for those democratically elected to serve the populace. Yeah – tell me about it.

Two reports by government advisors, Sir George Alberti and Professor Roger Boyle, published today, both conclude that traditional A&E departments are not the only option when dealing with life-and-death situations. Professor Boyle, the national clinical director for heart disease, found that specialist centres providing hi-tech treatment, which may be further away for the patient, could save an estimated 500 lives of people suffering heart attacks.

These could help prevent 1,000 further heart attacks and result in 1,000 more stroke victims avoiding death and disability each year.
His colleague, Sir George Alberti, the national clinical director for emergency care, also said there should be fewer hospitals trying to do everything, and "more convenient and appropriate care closer to home" for people with less serious conditions. Mr Blair described the reports as a "compelling and vivid account" of ongoing hospital reforms.

A separate report by the left-of-centre thinktank, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), argues that campaigns to save services at local hospitals could cost as many as 1,000 unnecessary deaths a year.
The thinktank, which is close to Downing Street, says patients with heart attacks or severe injuries are more likely to survive if the ambulance takes them past their local district general hospital to a more distant specialist centre.
It says that the expensive and complex treatments and highly-trained staff needed to deal with these emergencies in the most effective way would be better concentrated at regional specialist centres, rather than spread more thinly around local facilities.

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