THE NHS – FREE TO FAIL?

There is a GP crisis in the NHS, and people are having to wait weeks in order to see their GP, or any GP for that matter. Not everywhere of course. Some areas better served than others.

The head of the GP Union, once again, mewls that there is not enough money in the NHS and that billions more must be poured into it.

As with so many NHS employees, managers, gurus, pundits and Top People, she seems to have no concept of the laws of supply and demand, nor does she know anything about Parkinson’s Law. Putting it simply, a combination of these two immutable factors says that (i) give away anything free, and the demand will always exceed supply and (ii) that demand will always increase in a futile attempt to balance the supply/demand equation. Demand expands endlessly, to use up whatever money is available.

What this means is that the NHS – throughout the service, not just at GP level – will never have enough money to pay for the demand placed upon it. But before leaving the GP issue, it seems from what the aforementioned GP boss was saying, that no matter how much money is available, there are not enough trained and practising GP’s and not enough in training, to meet the demand anyway. No amount of money will magic such people into existence, even if the NHS cynically imports dozens, hundreds, from other countries.

Research surveys into the NHS indicate that a frightening number of people are either going to hospital A and E departments or to their GP surgeries with trivial complaints, almost all of which would either (a) just go away of their own accord because the body is programmed to do this or (b) respond perfectly well to advice from a pharmacist. And this includes those who are growing old.

A free-at-the-point-of-demand NHS was a grand and perfectly workable idea for the first 20 years of its existence. But not so any longer, not so for a long time, and certainly not for the future.

The only way out of the NHS mess is going to be very unpopular. And probably too unpopular for the self-serving politicians to undertake. Those in the HOC have to think about re-election, you know, and that is their first priority.

But that does not invalidate the principle: make people pay for every visit to a GP surgery and to A and E. Exempt those who are completely and demonstrably indigent, but everyone in that sort of situation should be given a maximum of, say, five visits per year to either the GP or A and E. After that, they would have to have the most compelling reasons for repeat visits. The system is being abused, and this has to stop.

The NHS does not need more money or more personnel. It needs a lot fewer “patients”. As things stand, GP’s are under the most dreadful stress in trying to cope with the number of people they are expected to see, and then write up the notes on the visits. Small wonder that heart-rending mistakes and misdiagnoses are being made.

How much should visits to GP’s or A and E cost? Let’s start with £10 and see how it goes.

And someone, for the sake of sanity, stop the endless demands for more and more taxpayers’ money.

10 thoughts on “THE NHS – FREE TO FAIL?

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