26 May 2007

NuLab's NHS 2

Much has been said and written about the death of Penny Campbell, who consulted eight doctors over Easter in 2005 before dying of blood poisoning following a routine operation. Much of it appears to direct blame at the out-of-hours service provider Camidoc. However, as Wat Tyler makes clear at Burning Our Money, the real blame lies with the Department of Health and the new GP contract negotiated by the Government three years ago, which allowed GPs to opt out of their former responsibility for night and weekend healthcare cover but provided patients with no adequate alternative.

What should be done now to prevent further unnecessary tragedy? We could see what ideas the incoming Prime Minister, the man who has been in charge of British domestic policy for the past 10 years, has: "The health service has got to be there for people when they need it and we need to do better in the future." Then again, we could listen to the experts — This is what the NHS Blog Doctor suggested earlier in the year:

Here is the Crippen “back of envelope” plan for improving primary health care. Scrap all the targets. Use the money to pay incentives to GPs who provide wide availability.
  • a “before work” surgery from 7.00 am to 9.00 am
  • an “after work” surgery from 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm
  • a lunchtime surgery from 12.00 to 2.00 pm.
  • surgeries on Saturday and Sunday through-out the day
Any other thoughts anyone?