Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Cameron: OffSick

Where to start on David Cameron's dim witted idea to fining health care trusts that do not hit targets on MRSA?

The last thing that hospitals that are already struggling with erratic funding need to deal with is some extra complication that could reduce the transparency of their funding still further.

A free market would probably respond by pricing in an acceptable level of MRSA risk- is that what Mr. Cameron really wants? Well, no, he probably wants to eliminate MRSA risk completely. That however requires strict hygiene rules- probably including drastically limiting visitor access to the wards- a policy likely to be highly unpopular. However Dave doesn't think about "unintended consequences".

As for the "independent" regulator of the Health service- presumably called OffSick in line with OffWat and OffTel- I have to ask why the current Department of Health is not able to perform this function? How much disruption and extra cost would the creation of such a regulator cause? Frankly, how effective it likely to be anyway? Has anyone done a cost-benefit analysis on this project?

These ideas from Cameron are totally half baked. At a time when much heat and light is already being generated by the supposedly unacceptable fact that the health service delivers different services depending on which of the home nations that it serves, the fact is that diversity is becoming built-in to our health care system. While it is clearly right that minimum safety standards should be enforced, this gimmicky policy of fines is an absurd waste of time. I have no problem with diversity of supply in health care, but the implications of this Conservative policy are expensive and wasteful.


Edis said...

I believe another suggestion for such an NHS Off-org is 'Offtrolley'.

Praguetory said...

"A free market would probably respond by pricing in an acceptable level of MRSA risk"

What is clear to me is that the current level of MRSA/CD risk is unacceptable. I believe 1 patient per 30 bed ward dies a year - in absolute terms this is twice the number of people that die on the roads. It is wholly unacceptable and whilst some belated attempts seem to have been undertaken by the govt far more is needed.

If an unintended consequence relates to changes in visiting regimes I think we can handle that.