Anorak News | A Disservice

A Disservice

by | 8th, September 2005

‘WHEN the Audit Commission, the Government’s financial watchdog, speaks, our eyes grow heavy and the voice of the man in the dull grey suit takes on a soporific tone.

‘Just keep me alive for the next five days, doctor’

But the Times is made of stern stuff, and stays conscious long enough to learn that hospital patients are being denied the best treatments because the staff are trying to save money.

The report says that almost three quarters of hospitals and NHS trusts are not following best practice, advice issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

(If there were ever a Government-designed group shaped around an acronym, NICE must be it.)

James Strachan, the commission’s chairman, says that “NICE plays a major role in ensuring high-quality patient care across the NHS”.

That it might, but if the hospitals don’t have the resources to follow the guidelines, what good are they?

But Mr Strachan has an answer. “What would make all the difference, and is achievable, is improved financial planning and better communication.”

That sounds sensible enough. Better allocation of funds could make a difference, especially if the Government saw fit to allocate more of them to the hospitals.

And improved communication can only be good news for patients keen to find out which hospital does follow the guidelines and can thus give them the best and most up-to—date treatments.

Unsurprisingly, news of a failing NHS also features on the Telegraph’s front page. The body politic may not be in the safest hands with Labour after all.

The paper hears from that nice Mr Strachan, but whereas the Times tells of “numerous complaints” in recent years that NICE advice is not being adhered to, the Telegraph says the NHS has been “deluged” with complaints.

The paper also hears from Andre Lansley. Who he? Why, he’s the shadow health secretary, naturally. “There is little point in introducing a code of best practice if the resources are not provided to deliver it,” says he.

Not so, says the Government. A spokesman for the Department of Health (D’OH) says the NHS bodies “must find the difficult balance between paying for expensive drugs for a limited number of patients and providing treatment that will benefit many other people.”

So if you are going to get ill, try to catch something that the NHS can deal with and afford to treat efficiently and speedily.

Or else you could be forced to spend, say, the next five days in hospital while the medics work out how to treat your illness with a plaster, a Doc leaf and a heart-attack inducing dose of cricket…’

Posted: 8th, September 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink