Thursday, 16 December 2010

NHS reforms don't seem to make sense

Something's puzzling me about Andrew Lansley's NHS reforms.
The new NHS will work by fining hospitals for poor outcomes. Lansley says their funding could be cut if patients are forced to share mixed-sex wards or if some patients are readmitted 30 days after being discharged from hospital. There would also be new information services so that patients could choose their doctors and hospitals.
Um. Why would patients be in mixed-sex wards in the first place? Could it be because the hospital in question needs further funding to build more wards, or have more staff available?

And if patients are readmitted less than 30 days after being discharged, wouldn't that point to many possible problems - lifestyle, socio-economic factors, etc? And wouldn't the hospital also need further funding to cope with such factors?

So why, I wonder, does Lansley think that hospitals which may already not have enough money to do their jobs, will somehow magically improve their services by having it taken away?

Ah, free market economics. Didn't make sense to me at college, doesn't make sense now.

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