A local doctor sent me the following important observations and said I could make it more widely known. This complements my general blog today about the national NHS:
“The emotive “save our NHS” petition below is doing the rounds. I don’t agree with it.
I don’t think the problems of the NHS are related to private providers. After all, as GPs that is exactly what we are and often are portrayed as the jewel of the nhs!
The main problems of the NHS is the fact that it is overwhelmed with demand that is not directly related clinical need but by the fact that it is completely free and therefore open to over [mis] use .
1 A significant portion of NHS resources are consumed inappropriately by a tiny minority of patients who do not have discernibly greater clinical need than others but for whom we can no longer act as effective gate keepers. [They are so armed with “rights” and numerous channels of complaint that waste our time and energy we have to give in]
2 The general population are now also more quick to consult at a lower threshold and we have no incentive or public narrative to “save NHS resources”. So in addition to the tiny minority, there is a more widespread low level trend to increased use.
The BMA are too craven to be seen to blaming the ills of the NHS on patients so simply clamour for more resources. But looking around the world this clearly will not solve the problem. We have to address the issue of demand in a free service or there will not be an NHS as we know it in 5 years.
On the debate in question I think there is an issue about over-regulation. To be required to put all services out to tender is bureaucratic and time consuming and often drives up costs and usage. It can be useful where the NHS provider has fossilised but I would let the CCG GPs + managers decide and not regulate it so much ”