A few days ago the good Dr Grumble reproduced an article which pretty much sums up what many feel is slowly happening to the NHS. The Ferret Fancier, welcome back you have been missed by we heathens up North, also commented on the piece. Now there is a phrase called the Third way (possibly more in this process?) and we wonder if this is already happening within the NHS.
Imagine a scenario where a PCT devolves responsibility for a service to a sub section of its staff and puts them in a separate unit let us call it Bletchley Park and runs it for a while. If the PCT decides as a result of “budget constraints” or a “service redesign” it can no long afford to run it what does it do then?
Perhaps it could set it up as a private concern using a variety of guises for example a limited company or a corporation or a federation. This "private" entity could then run the same service while being paid by the PCT and later even have it bid against a “competitor” by submitting a tendor which the PCT would consider.
If this “independent” business entity wins then they hold the contract. All good and ethical business’ practice.
Now consider the state of PCTs which will be disappearing soon. Their staff will be fearful of their jobs. What better way of preserving some of them than by farming out certain services to this “private" sector?
Consider next what will happen when GPs start commissioning. If there are good local services up and running cheaply GP consortia will properly use them rather than go through a long and complex commissioning process.
There is another aspect in that it might be conceivable that the true private sector might want certain services in a particular area and might offer to buy out the “private” former PCT provider.
Look carefully at your own area for this process may already be occurring albeit slowly and by stealth, or as the Witch Doctor blogger puts it by “creep”.
Could it be a case of PCT self preservation by creep and in doing also the selling of the family silver?
Praise be to the Party for giving us the Third Way but where that Way will lead nobody knows. Or do they?
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Northern Doc was once a blog originally written by a group of GPs in Northernshire and expressed their experiences and frustrations of working in today's NHS. The pieces were compiled at social meetings after work and published anonymously in a once free society. Following the Government's Medical Council clamp down on freedom of thought, speech and expression by doctors and our belief that the views of a few doctors DO NOT represent the views of the profession as a whole their views will now be written by and published by a journalist who has previously contributed to the blog by virtue of social ties. Any inference that the word Doc means a doctor is now purely coincidental. This is as of the 22 April 2013.