NHS Healthcheck

October 17, 2008 6:07 PM

The Healthcare Commission - the government's NHS watchdog in England - yesterday published its annual report into the performance of NHS Trusts.


Despite its predictably positive overtones - "Patients and the public should celebrate these results as they show a real shift in performance"- the report does find some identify some persistent failings. For instance a quarter of NHS Trusts failed to meet the core infection targets, with only 52% of acute trusts meeting targets to reduce the incidents of MRSA. Perhaps most notably, there has been a dramatic decline in the number of Primary Care Trusts meeting the target that every patient should be able to see a GP within two working days, down from 80% last year to just 31% today.


It was the Government's reaction to the report that said most about the NHS though. While roundly welcoming the 'independent' (read: established, funded and directed by government) Commission's findings, it rejected the new methodology used to calculate the 'GP within 2 days' target. Why? Because they had carried out their own survey of patients (at great cost) and had found that almost everyone saw a GP within the prescribed limit.


The Healthcare Commission cost the taxpayer over £75 million last year. The fact that the Government then dismisses its work and commissions more sympathetic research speaks volumes about the Government controlled NHS. In short, it is a politically run health system, managed toward political ends. The only people to lose in such a situation are patients and taxpayers. Taxpayers foot the bill for a massive and needless NHS bureaucracy (why have the Healthcare commission if you are going to disregard its findings) and patients because politically uncomfortable problems are ignored or redefined.

The Healthcare Commission - the government's NHS watchdog in England - yesterday published its annual report into the performance of NHS Trusts.


Despite its predictably positive overtones - "Patients and the public should celebrate these results as they show a real shift in performance"- the report does find some identify some persistent failings. For instance a quarter of NHS Trusts failed to meet the core infection targets, with only 52% of acute trusts meeting targets to reduce the incidents of MRSA. Perhaps most notably, there has been a dramatic decline in the number of Primary Care Trusts meeting the target that every patient should be able to see a GP within two working days, down from 80% last year to just 31% today.


It was the Government's reaction to the report that said most about the NHS though. While roundly welcoming the 'independent' (read: established, funded and directed by government) Commission's findings, it rejected the new methodology used to calculate the 'GP within 2 days' target. Why? Because they had carried out their own survey of patients (at great cost) and had found that almost everyone saw a GP within the prescribed limit.


The Healthcare Commission cost the taxpayer over £75 million last year. The fact that the Government then dismisses its work and commissions more sympathetic research speaks volumes about the Government controlled NHS. In short, it is a politically run health system, managed toward political ends. The only people to lose in such a situation are patients and taxpayers. Taxpayers foot the bill for a massive and needless NHS bureaucracy (why have the Healthcare commission if you are going to disregard its findings) and patients because politically uncomfortable problems are ignored or redefined.

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