Thursday, 1 October 2015

Junior doctors less for more or more for less?

One of the team at ND Central was informed by their batman, all Ferrari driving GPs who inhabit baronial mansions in the UK have batmen to attend to their personal needs, that the damned supermarkets had increased the costs of their products. Now this is not just any supermarket it is many and this has been done by stealth.

Supermarkets operate in the free market so beloved of politicians so when ones batman tells you as they serve one ones evening meal that a tin of something contains 25% less than it did a week ago, or that a packet of something has decreased in weight by 25% or that another product has decreased the volume by 15% but increased in price by 15% then by jingo one just has to slap ones thigh with a riding crop and say thank goodness for the increase in value for money for busy working people that the free market represents.

And then write a stiff letter to the Times and sign it with one’s former military rank of Brigadeer General (Miss).

As our illustration to this post we include the classic demand and supply curve which suggests without going too deep into economic theory that if a commodity is in short supply then its price should rise. However, none of the commodities refered to above are in short supply.

So in the NHS if demand rises and supply decreases what should socialized medicine’s internal market do?

1) Increase costs to the non paying customer? No Comrades NHS healthcare is free at the point of abuse.

2) Restrict supply? Of course Comrades for using the above free market examples should a GP surgery of 24 patients be reduced by 25% to 18 for the same cost true free market economics and value for money for the non paying consumer?

Of course not comrades what one does is promise an increase in supply of healthcare across the board of 40% (7 day working) and assume that demand and cost stays the same. In that way economic theory would suggest that costs fall, we think, due to economic efficiencies as supply theoretically increases.

This we are sure is the level of retardatation that your average Secretary of Health with a degree in PPE from the University of Oxford would apply. There is Economics and there is PPE and then there are Secretaries of Health.

And then there is real world healthcare.

Supermarkets and their suppliers are trying to keep profits the same or increase them by reducing supply and hoping that demand says the same and that no one will notice these small changes. Some interesting figures seen by accident by one of the team at a small local supermarket showed that the day before there were around 3000 customers who on average spent c. £ 25+ a basket. They even gave the percentage increase in spend over the previous week, day and sickness figures.

These figures showed that patients are happy to spend more on food than they do on healthcare for the numbers involved at the supermarket are many times more than those attending ND Central on a single day who pay nothing for a basket (consultation) which averages out at £ 22.67 a consultation.

Curious how when it comes to food there is no problem for patients paying more for less and there are clear efficiency gains here (for the food industry) as what are known in medicine affectionally as fat bastards are just getting fatter and this is by getting less but paying more for the privilege.

So the free market meets demand by restricting supply and generates profit while the NHS market creates demand which it cannot supply and expects all involved in doing so to suffer a loss.

Which is where the junior doctors come in. All parties in the Tripartite health alliance regard junior doctors as nothing more than cheap labour as the recent letter to the Prime Minister shows. And yet they are the people that if you go into hospital you are likely to see amongst the first and are to be the first to treat you.

The Party using supermarket economics is using the less for more argument with junior doctors whereby they are seeking to reduce the costs for them working out of hours in the same way that Joe the plumber if asked to work outside of normal hours will always say that will cost you guv’ double time before 20.00 triple time after that and at weekends plus a call out fee. Yet you can see from this link to a more detailed account of how the Party plans to reward junior doctors’ time and what they feel their basic working week should be.

Jeremy clearly understands Oxford PPE economics for if something is in short supply, namely junior doctors wanting to train as GPs what better way of making general practice more attractive than decreasing GP registrars’ salaries by 31%? And being a true equalitarian he will do the same to other junior doctors as well.

Praise be to the Party for failing to even grasp basic ecomonics and promising a New Deal to all doctors. Work harder and longer for less for the NHS you know it makes sense? No wonder they are a tad angry.

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