Disclaimer: I'd have expected dm to make this thread already, but search fails me. Apologies if old.|
So, the government have announced their plans to save cash on the NHS by getting rid of the Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs). The PCTs are responsible for ordering end user services from hospitals and other parts of the NHS, so that when a GP refers you to get an x-ray, the hospitals services are there and properly funded.
The plan now is for GPs to band together and order services from the hospitals and health centres directly, but they can also get services from private clinics. As I understand it, they'll be encouraged to do this, if the clinics can offer services at a lower cost, in order to make their budgets go further.
Now, the PCTs have come in for quite a lot of criticism over the years (though not so much since NICE was founded and ended the 'postcode lottery'). And getting rid of two levels of agency will reduce bureaucracy, which gown knows the NHS needs.
But to me this sounds like the worst idea ever. Plenty of private clinics will be able to undercut the hospital, primarily because they don't have to fund expensive items like Accident and Emergency. The NHS works on a priniple of economies of scale and or sharing the cost of expensive drugs and services. If the GPs do take this up, funding on A&E will drop, and well end up with an even worse case of a postcode lottery where it depends not only which local authority you come under, but which GP you go to whether you get drug X or not.
I don't know how this affects A&E - I don't expect GPs to be funding A&E directly when it's got nothing to do with them. The BBC has got a short Q&A up here, but it doesn't go into any specifics of how the plan will work.
Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!