C CITY DESK
Last month St. Peter’s Hospitals health workers and support staff were demonstrating outside the front entrance. Unlike management, they are subject to a pay freeze at a time of rapid inflation. Jobs are being cut, waiting lists are rising.
It’s another world at the top of the NHS Trusts, as this extract from a story in The Daily Express (23/6/14) shows;
Managers and medics travelled to New York, Miami and Pennsylvania for a week-long fact-finding mission.
It cost the four medical groups – all in Surrey – £281,100, an average of £1,434 per person, per day.
Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals Foundation Trust spent £128,000 sending a 12-strong contingent.
Royal Surrey County Hospital – which cut 70 jobs last year – sent 12 staff at a cost of £117,700.
Dr David Eyre-Brook, chair of Guildford and Waverley Clinical Commissioning Group and its deputy chief executive Karen McDowell ran up a bill of £21,400.
Their counterparts at North West Surrey CCG cost £14,000.
Of course, the alternative would be to employ another 10 nurses across the four trusts.
The money wasted by Ashford and St. Peters alone would have paid for another consultant or 4 nurses. As each nurse would ideally cover about 8 beds, those 4 nurses (accounting for shifts, time off, holidays and courses) would have allowed the Trust to carry out another 8 operations a week or about 400 extra a year.
Was the trip worthwhile? Did they learn a lot?
They obviously didn’t read this study which I recently republished;
The National Health Service has been praised as the world's best health-care system by an international panel of experts who said it was superior to those found in countries which spend far more on health.
The study, entitled “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall,” also described US healthcare provision as the worst globally. Despite investing the most money in health, the US refuses care to many patients without health insurance and is also the worst at saving the lives of people who fall ill, it found.
The Commonwealth Fund, a Washington-based foundation produced the report. The fund is respected around the world for its analysis of the performance of different countries' health systems. It examined 11 countries, including detailed data from patients, doctors and the World Health Organisation, the Guardian reported.
"The United Kingdom ranks first overall, scoring highest on quality, access and efficiency," the fund's researchers conclude in their 30-page report. Their findings amount to a huge endorsement of the health service, especially as it spends the second-lowest amount on healthcare among the 11 – just £2,008 per head, less than half the £5,017 in the US. Only New Zealand, with £1,876, spent less.
In the Commonwealth Fund study, the UK came first out of the 11 countries in eight of the 11 measures of care the authors looked at. It came top on measures including providing effective care, safe care, co-ordinated care and patient-centred care. The fund also rated the NHS as the best for giving access to care and for efficient use of resources.
What a waste.
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