Debate Magazine

NHS: Price and Non-price Rationing

Posted on the 20 February 2015 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

The NHS is free at point of use, so they have to impose two types of rationing:
1. Some services are simply not provided because they are deemed too expensive or not medically necessary.
2. Waiting times. If waiting lists are long enough, then some people simply don't bother going for NHS treatment; either they go private, live with it, die with it, or it goes away by itself.
As we well know, most GP's are taking the piss. Besides charging for non-existent patients, taking bungs from medical rep's and doing little other than referring you to a specialist, prescribing antibiotics/painkillers or telling you to go away, they are underworked, overpaid and you have to wait days for an appointment. If you miss your slot by a few minutes they give you another appointment in a few days' time.
Faced with this intransigence, many patients with something acute go to Accident & Emergency (even if strictly speaking it was neither accident nor emergency) and take their chances. Even if they have to wait more than four hours, at least it gets dealt with on the same day at a time of their choosing.
So we end up with headlines like this:
A&E waits worsen across England
NHS England says A&Es have faced increased pressure this week partly due to a rise in attendances. Some 420,000 patients turned up at emergency departments, up from 407,000 the previous week.
I've Googled it, and there appear to be around 40,000 GPs in the UK. So a simple solution suggests itself:
Terminate all GP contracts and offer them proper jobs in A&E Departments instead.

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