Friday, August 4

The Hospital that was too efficient

From the Eastern Daily Press comes the story of the Hospital in East Anglia that has been penalised for working too fast.
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Ipswich Hospital which lost nearly £2.5m worth of funding by treating patients too quickly insisted yesterday it was working hard to ensure the mistake is not repeated.
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Well now, we cant have patients upsetting the NHS's quality management systems, what ever next.

The Hospital is apparently more than £16m in the red, had accidentally breached an agreement with a funding body which was designed to ensure that patients were treated in turn and had similar waits.

A hospital senior administrator described the episode as a "local glitch" and said it had no significant implications for hospitals nationally or for NHS funding; so that's ok then !

It was explained that the government wants patients to wait no longer than six months before seeing a hospital consultant. However Ipswich Hospital and the East Suffolk Primary Care Trusts (ESPCT) - which provide funds for treatment - agreed that patients should wait at least four months.

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A spokeswoman said the arrangement was thought to be the best way to ensurethat no one jumped queues and that everyone was waiting a similar length oftime. But during the past two years hospital doctors had treated a number of patientsinside four months in breach of the agreement and the trusts refused topay. Clearly a bad move.
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The news comes just days after reports that Norfolk's biggest hospital is being pressed by health trusts to increase its waiting times for surgery tosave money.
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The county's cash-strapped primary care trusts have asked the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital to increase the time patients wait foroperations. It means hundreds of patients requiring operations such as hipand knee replacements, reckon-structure plastic surgery and urology surgerywill have to wait longer for treatment.
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In response to the latest funding issue, a spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said: "We made the agreement on the waiting times since it was thought to be the best way of ensuring that patients were seen on a first come, first served basis and that waiting times were equalised. In a number of cases we had breached the agreement - for understandable reasons, because we had sparecapacity - and as a result we treated patients too quickly. The trust srefused to pay, as they were entitled to.''
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The spokeswoman (clearly an administrator of the highest quality) added:''We are working hard to ensure that the mistake will not be made again.'' Well after all we can not have sick people being attended to early, that would never do it would upset the system.
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One could not make any of this nonsense up, it simply does not sound credible. However sadly it is all true. This story is just one example of how our once great nation is now run - by armies of robotic unthinking corporate system controlled automatons.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

The health care of the UK is now even worse than that of the US. I shall have to curb my tongue in the future so as not to complain about a wait time of a couple of hours to see a doctor, a few days to see a specialist and for operations to be scheduled as needed and as quickly as possible.

I was surprised on my first visit to the UK, Scotland actually, where one evening I watched a program that covered the NHS. (This was shown during November of 2000) What surprised me was not watching the program on the UK,but the information contained in the program. That you have to wait at least a week or longer to see a doctor. NO offense but by that time you can either be well, which seems to be the NHS hope, or you can be even more seriously ill than you were at first. Not sure how that all fits into the NHS plan but whatever.

I had a friend of mine who broke his ankle during the 3rd day of his vacation to the UK. Here in the states he is an emergency room doctor/surgeon. He is also retired from military service. I mention this because he said that even during several postings that were under extreme circumstances, he felt that he received better care than in the UK. He was impressed that with the facilities that were available that he got the best care available. He only had to wait 3 days to see someone about his ankle and then it was rebroken in order to be set as it was now healing badly, or is that wrongly? After that experience, and being in a darkened room, as the light bulb had burnt out and couldn't be replaced for a week to ten days what with work orders to fill out and union requirements to be met. He decided against doctor's orders to leave his doctor's adequate hands and return to the states where upon his arrival he made 2 phone calls, (without telling the hospital that he was a doctor just in setting up appointments) and was seen the next day by a doctor and an orthopaedist. The general concenses is that if the job had been done immediately (as it would have if he had come into our emergency room at any hospital in the states) he would not now have the several pins in his ankles or the bad scarring.

My question is that your NHS seems to be in the same fiscal problems that the states health systems also experiences, if that is the case, WHY do you not see people on a first come first serve basis dependant on severity of problem AFTER diagnosis. OR should I just make arrangements now for appointments during my vacation/holiday time in April just in case i need to see someone if I get sick or hurt while visitng the UK? I should think that having to wait and then to have to remind patients that it is now their turn to be seen as they may have forgetten why they went in the first place after 6 months and then finding that the original problem(s) had now grown would cost even more.

And aren't there some surgeries that would not have to be performed if the patient had been diagnosed and treated at or near the first visit? And doesn't waiting until broken bones are healed or almost healed to be set/reset by a doctor cost more money and also more injury to said patient? And what about those people who don't come into the doctor for every sneeze or cough but wait to be "really" sick before going to the doctor? Or how about if you have to do a biopsy for cancer and then get treatment? Do you wait until the cancer has grown for 6 months to insure that you have waited the prescribe 6 months?

To me that seems such a waste, unless of course your aim is to weed out the strong from the weak.

I say give Ipswich Hospital their money. By seeing those patients with a 4 month turnaround, they get to see more patients.

Also, my friend who broke his ankle, He says that he got great treatment from the medical personnel and staff but they were working under extreme conditions. I now understand why. I am amazed that he got seen at all at this point. Good Luck to all of you and Good Health.