Thursday, November 30, 2006

Britain's Whinging Simple Shopper

Too late to complain now My Lord

I've just listened to Health Minister My Lord Warner whinging on Today that GPs have done extraordinarily well out of their new NHS contracts. He doesn't like the fact that they "kept their eye on the ball" while the Department of Health... er... ummm...

Figures released today confirm that in the first year of the new contract, average GPs pay increased by 30% to over £100 grand pa. As we've blogged before (eg see here) this is entirely down to the fact that, when they negotiated the contracts, the DoH exchanged the cash cow for a handful of those magic beans- in this case some more box ticking needed by yet another "quality agenda" (see Doc Crippen for full and painful details).

We taxpayers have ended up with signifiantly bigger bills, despite the fact that we've lost the Out of Hours service (OOH) and Saturday morning surgeries. Even if I accept- as the Doc so persuasively argued- that outside Tannochbrae, nobody else in the world ever expected OOH in the first place, it's frankly incredible that we ended up paying more for a worse service.

As we've noted many times, by intermediating itself between us taxpaying consumers and the suppliers, our simple shopper government almost always lands us with bigger bills for a worse service. We'd be tons better off doing our own shopping (watch Our Money on 18 Doughty Street at 8.30 this pm for more examples).

PS Who is Lord Norman Warner? He's someone who has spent his entire career moving between the "public and voluntary sectors – as a civil servant, local authority executive, political adviser and quangocrat" (see this profile). "High spots" include a spell as Red Babs Castle's Principal Private Secretary in the 70s. He would not be my choice of shopper.

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