Saturday, January 14, 2006

Too Close To Home

Chances are your local NHS is in financial crisis right now. Following recent TV appearances by the Criminally Patronising Oleaginous Patricia Hewitt, we're all aware of that in some dim distant sense.

But Tyler has now realised it's actually a bit too close for comfort. Because it turns out our local
Surrey and Sussex Strategic Health Authority is one of the worst. In fact things are so bad that the Audit Commission has issued a special report "in the public interest under section 8 of the Audit Commission Act 1998". Does it get any worse that that?

The Commission runs through the usual catalogue of unforgivable inaction and general bureaucratic incompetence, but the bit that really caught my eye was when they let slip how it is proposed to address the deficit:

"Effective commissioning and robust demand management were identified as key to transforming this financially unsustainable model of healthcare by effectively managing entry into the healthcare system."

What does that mean exactly? Not altogether sure I like the sound of it.

The report says no more, but a quick Google throws up another report from the sinister sounding PCT Configuration Reference Group. They spell it out:

"Demand Management: The ongoing S4 work on developing sustainable services in Surrey and Sussex has shown that effective management of demand will be crucial to the future sustainability of the health economy. The population of Surrey and Sussex is a high user of secondary care health services. The effective management of demand will require the ability to incentivise and engage clinicians in both primary and secondary care to ensure that patients are treated in the most appropriate way and within budget."

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but that sounds awfully like rationing- even stricter rationing than we have right now. Despite all that extra money.

As somebody once nearly said, if you live in Surrey or Sussex, I warn you not to pay tax; and I warn you not to get sick.

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