Sunday, 15 August 2010

Some ghastly reading about the past and perhaps a ghastly glimpse into the future?

While thrashing our Ferraris into work one morning this week one of us was listening to the news and heard the newscaster say that the PFI (Private Finance Initiative) used by the previous Party to build new hospitals is going to land up costing 6 times more than if the same hospitals had been built directly by the State. Even the Daily Mail have noticed this one.

No surprise there as if you have the money to build a house you do not usually take out a very expensive loan for the same amount to build something and then pay interest on it for years to come.

Unfortunately political dogma is usually not very intelligent, has badly impaired tunnel vision and if you are the Party in charge always wins over reason and rational argument until you lose power.

Nothing new here for this triumph of dogma over reason and logic has been going on for centuries just think of Galileo and the Catholic Church as an example.

Another piece of news that is hardly surprising is the frontpage article on the front of the GP magazine Pulse which we can link to but you now have to register to read it in full.

Local commissioning has cost practices thousands being paid to local consortiums which have produced no savings, no redesigned services and are effectively lapdogs to the local Soviets (PCTs) who block everything as they strive to cling onto power as the axe hangs over their heads.

We suspect that this loss of funds from frontline general practice, with few exceptions, will be the case in most places that practices are paying out money but getting nothing back for themselves and more importantly diverting money from patient care for the purpose of political dogma.

And what of the future? Well, unless someone pulls an all mighty great surprise of a white rabbit of healthcare Utopia out of a hat, we suspect that in 5 to 10 years time similar articles will be being read on the news and being read by a new generation of GPs.

People forget that in order for “markets” to work people have to make profits and customers have to pay for services.

A state run scheme one would hope will break even but, to do the same job and make a profit, will always cost more unless, of course, the state run scheme is such an incredibly inefficient dinosaur of an organization, in which case efficiency savings, sorry comrade reader, efficiency gains, would yield massive profits to the private sector.

Unfortunately the involvement of the private sector inevitably increases cost. If it costs £ 100 to break even then it will cost £ 125 to run privately as Joe Privates needs something for his or her dangling their bits into NHS business.

So are PFI and commissioning, sorry, “world-class” commissioning, two examples of the old Party’s dogmatic successes and financial Prudence? Is the New Party any different?

Praise be to the Party for the reason and logic of dogma which will cost all of us so dear for years to come. And please remember the old Party did all of this dogma in times of plenty . . .

Plus ca change plus c'est la meme chose?