Posts Tagged ‘Private Medical Insurance’
We codgers love a bit of fantasy to lighten our mood as we ‘muck-out’ for the zillionth time, and Andrew Lansley matches Dick Francis in providing a steady supply. Yesterday we read Lansley’s claim, as his greatest ever achievement, to be the conversion of public opinion to one of warm regard for the changes he proposes for our health service. Yesterday, one day after the interview, YouGov published the findings of a poll. Just 18% of people said they supported the NHS changes!
In fact our arch enemy had a bad weekend all round. Simon Hughes, the deputy leader of the Lib Dems, said that; “My political judgement is that in the second half of parliament it would be better for Lansley to move on”. At least that was marginally kinder that the No 10 official who suggested the health secretary be “taken out and shot”. Meantime, in a paper published in ‘The Lancet’, Nick Black, professor of health services research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has contradicted Lansley’s claim that NHS productivity is declining. Black confirmed that it has risen and suggests that the Lansley claim was merely to justify his reforms.
Perhaps most damaging of all is a letter pubished today by Prof Christopher Cordess of Sheffied university. As a psychiatrist Prof Cordess has worked with teams in the NHS. He believes that the consquences of trying to force the heath bill – with its “alien ethos of financial competition” – upon resistant, demoralised staff will be disastrous. He contends that the destruction of a healing and earning culture is already in full swing, and that the bill, if passed, will be the end of a fair and universally available NHS. He goes on to scorn claims by ministers that staff morale being at an all time low is a sign that “you are doing something right”.
And so the nonsense goes on, with every professional health body now ranged against the plan. But, for me, something far more significant is happening. Every daily newspaper today carries full page ads for Bupa. Take out private health insurance and all will be well. At the same time every email user is being bombarded with even more precise advice. Insurers are warning that NHS waiting lists are lengthening by 50%, but there is a way of jumping the queue.
If we have deep enough pockets we can do that since Foundation Trusts are now being encouraged to allocate up to 49% of their beds to private practice. This would of course be provided by NHS consultants who will then extend their NHS lists. If this isn’t privatisation, what is?
After sensibly reserving his position, David Cameron has now aligned himself with the plan. It is an enormous poitical gamble, by the time of the next election NHS waiting times will be at their worst ever levels and all those who can afford health insurance will have jumped ship.
The You Gov poll will have come as a nasty shock to our dear leader who, it would seem, was assured by Lansley that the public were “very much on board”. Clearly Mr Cameron didn’t read Alice in Wonderland!
THINGS PEOPLE SAY ABOUT HISTORY; “Hadrian was interesting. He had a wife and a husband. And he built this enormous wall. I’d never thought of him as a gay bricklayer before”….Billy Connolly “After you’ve heard two eyewitness accounts of an accident, it makes you wonder about history”…….Dave Barry “During the Middle Ages the biggest mistake you could make was not to put on your armour because you were just ‘popping round the corner’ “……Jack Handley “Over 90% of high school students think BC means before cable”……Argus Hamilton “I think we agree, the past is over”……George W Bush “What woud have happened in 1963, had Kruschev and not Kennedy been assassinated? With history one can never be sure, but I think it can safey be said that Aristotle Onassis would not have married Mrs Kruschev”……..Gore Vidal
Another beautiful golden day! The optimists among the chicken-breeders are talking excitedly of a summer to beat them all. The rest of us remember similar delight at this time last year! But we live for the day and this one is brilliant in every sense of the word. However, at least one of our number is not entirely happy. He has been told by his GP that there are now restrictions on NHS orthopaedic referrals and his chance of a hip operation is now remote. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised since the massive Lansley cuts are slowly but surely taking the NHS performance back many years.
In fact a survey of GPs published yesterday found that cuts are being made not only in areas deemed non-urgent. Over half of the 500 family doctors questioned said that waiting times had gone up for musculoskeletal work, and 42% reported a rise in waits for neurology treatment. Almost a third say that there are now delays in cardiology and one in ten say that waiting times for cancer treatments are rising quickly.
Interestingly the survey was carried out by Spire Healthcare, the second largest private hospital group in the country. And they are not in the least depressed by what their friend Mr Lansley is doing. Dr Jean-Jacques de Gorter, clinical director of Spire, said yesterday that the increased use of the private sector now being enjoyed is to be expected “as a result of health secretary Andrew Lansley’s measures and efficiency savings”. He reported that his group was already seeing waiting lists for elective admissions and diagnostics going up and patients are “likely to turn to the private sector”.
Spire claims from its survey that more patients are asking GPs about private treatment. It claims that a third of those surveyed plan to make more private referrals this year. Almost half (49%) are said to be asking their patients if they have private medical insurance.
The number of people with private insurance is actually flatlining or even dropping, as people are made redundant and lose the healthcare benefit that went with their job, but Dr De Gorter expects more to pay out of their own pockets as the NHS delays increase.
I honestly believe that, unless Lansley is stopped, the end of the NHS as we have known it is in sight. Private hospitals will lure top surgeons away from the NHS and will step up their GP-influencing campaigns. Of course this is one of the aims of the Conservative minister. Competition, he will argue, will lead to even better healthcare and higher standards. So far as the private sector is concerned that is correct but the massive flip side is that the NHS hospitals, starved of funding from basic work, will deteriorate and ultimately decline in numbers.
The end of the Lansley trail is plain to see. If you have expensive health insurance, or are relatively wealthy, you will notice little difference. If you don’t, you will probably die or at best suffer a lower quality of life.
If we regard that scenario as unduly pessimistic we will delude ourselves and betray generations to come!
THOUGHTS FOR TODAY; LUCK: “Everything went right for him until the day he was born”….Victor Borge “If it was raining soup, he’d be out with forks”…..Brendan Behan “Just my luck. I was at the airport when my ship came in” ………Henny Youngman “As one door closes another falls on top of you”…..Angus Deayton “It always looks darkest just before it gets totally black”…….Charlie Brown “Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone”…..Jim Frieberg “What I’m looking for is a blessing that’s not in disguise”…..Kitty O’Neill Collins “I’m so unlucky that if I was to fall into a barrel of nipples I would come out sucking my thumb”……Freddie Starr
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S QUIZ; 1. Shane Fenton 2. Gordon Sumner
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Where did troops fight for control of Islam’s holiest shrine? 2.Who went out to be Rhodesia’s last British governor?