Thursday, July 15, 2010

The MVNHS©: Finally getting the message?

It appears that, even as we speed toward health care oblivion, the Brits have figured out what we used to understand: that health care professionals, not government bureaucrats, are best positioned to actually determine and implement health care. First, the good news:

"Tens of thousands of administrative jobs in the health service will be lost as a result."

Now the better news:

"About £80billion will be distributed to family GPs in a move that will see strategic health authorities and primary care trusts scrapped."

That's about $160 billion of British taxpayer money that will go to the folks who are primarily responsible for providing actual health care. The current system distributes those funds to local administrators, who have almost unlimited discretion in how they're used. So a hospital in, say, York may be allowed to treat a specific condition, but another facility a hundred kilometers away may forbid that treatment (as we saw in the case of the late Ms O'Boyle). These decisions are currently made by bureaucrats, who may or may not have an actual medical background.

That's likely to change now (it's in the planning stages). It's still problematic:

"NHS services will be taken over by new statutory bodies called GP Consortia – groups of GP practices that will manage the healthcare budget – except in areas such as dentistry, community pharmacies and ophthalmic services that will be the responsibility of a new NHS Commissioning Board."

It's almost as if they've traded one set of pencil pushers for another. And there's the problem of getting the doc's themselves on board with this. Paul Bates, chief executive of the Worcestershire Health Trust, reports that “[q]uite a few [GP's] are saying to me ‘Thanks very much but I want to see my patients.”

There are a number of lessons here: first, our Cousins Across the Pond© recognize that health care decisions belong in the hands of providers and patients, not bean counters. Second, it certainly demonstrates that the MVNHS© has been no more successful than us in holding down health care costs; in fact, it appears that they're beginning to believe that reducing government's footprint in the system is a likely way to begin controlling those costs.

Time will tell.
blog comments powered by Disqus