Tag Archives: value for money

Revolutionary plan to make NHS viable: ‘Getting value for money’

What were people saying about Tories being better with money than Labour?

It’s Labour peer Lord Carter who has suggested that the NHS could save nearly £1.5 billion, every year, simply by getting value for the public money it spends, rather than splurging out all kinds of cash for basic essentials.

He only surveyed 22 hospitals but found that latex gloves cost £5.44 in one and £2.39 in another. How much does it cost to manufacture the flimsy little things? Look ’em up on the Internet and you can get them for £2.90 per box of 100.

Aprons ranged from £2.51 to £4.20. Amazon will get you a pack of 100 for £3.09.

Then, of course, there are the more expensive issues:

Some hip operations are costing more than double the amount that they should, with some expensive replacements not lasting as long as cheaper ones – costing the NHS £17m a year.

Dare one even suggest that this may be a result of privatisation?

Lord Carter reckoned the NHS should get value for money by cutting down the number of product lines it uses. Perhaps he means the service should use the cheapest equipment that is still reliable? Why isn’t this happening already?

He said the NHS could make bulk purchases, achieving significant discounts, to make these savings.

Now, let’s stop and think for a moment. Does anybody else think that maybe this issue could have been prevented if the Conservative Party had not introduced something called the Internal Market in 1990?

With different health authorities buying for themselves, rather than the whole health service achieving the best value, wastage was bound to happen.

The Conservatives are to blame, it seems.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said hospitals should no longer be “paying over the odds for basic items”. “The NHS has huge potential buying power as the world’s biggest buyer of healthcare products, so we should be driving for the best-value deals every time,” he said. “I want to see a seven-day health service that delivers for working people. That means cutting out waste and making sure every penny counts.”

Does this count as an apology for 25 years of neoliberal mismanagement?

If so, when will the misprint-prone Hunt be dismissing wasteful private firms from our health service?

The answer, of course, is never – at least, not under a Conservative government. The privatisation – and the wastefulness that comes with it, will continue until the cost of maintaining the health service becomes the excuse the Tories need to abolish it altogether.

If you voted Conservative, it’s what you wanted!

The funding gap is expected to reach £30 billion by 2020, meaning Carter’s savings are unlikely to make a huge difference.

Reorganising the service to get best value across the board – including kicking out overcharging, underperforming and postcode lottery-creating privateers – might just help.

Source: Simple changes could save NHS £1.5bn, says Labour peer – Health News – Health & Families – The Independent

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Hinchingbrooke failure means end of public tolerance for health privateers

150110hinchingbrooke

Campaigning group 38 Degrees’ response to the announcement that Circle Holdings is withdrawing from its contract to run Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

The failure of Circle Holdings’ management of Hinchingbrooke Hospital has one serious consequence for all political parties – but particularly Labour – and it is this: The British public will no longer tolerate any suggestion that private firms should participate in the National Health Service.

The reason Labour is singled out for special attention in this regard is that Labour has made the repeal of the Conservative Party’s Health and Social Care Act a key campaigning pledge (yes, it was passed in Coalition with the Liberal Democrats, but Andrew Lansley – Conservative – was the MP who spent around seven years working on the legislation in secret while his party leader promised all and sundry, with his ‘sincere’ face on, that the NHS was safe in Tory hands).

Unfortunately for Ed Miliband’s party, such promises are being met with scepticism by the people who should be Labour’s core voters. Only a couple of days ago, Vox Political posted this image to its Facebook page:

150110labourfourmonths

Here are some of the responses:

“Labour are just another neoliberal party serving the financial elite,” wrote Max Anstey. “The economic ideology ‘neoliberalism’ involves the privatisation of things. As Labour are neoliberal, they will not renationalise the NHS. A claim to ‘restore’ the NHS is not good enough from a neoliberal party. We need our public services back in our hands.”

Here’s another, by Gareth Jones: “I would love to see an honest resurgence of socialist ideals in this country. I’d love Labour to be Labour again. However, I just don’t see Ed Miliband being the one to bring it about. Ed is no Tony Benn.”

And Janet Kaiser added: “Labour (if it can still be called that) are going to do bugger-all. You can hope as much as you want, but the fact is the party has been taken over by venture capitalists and shouting the contrary is not going to change anything.”

That is the attitude Labour has to overcome. What’s sad is that it is an attitude that, in many ways, Labour has created. Only today, this blog posted a link to an article by Labour MP Michael Meacher in which he criticised his own front bench’s failure to attack the Conservatives over the economy – and much of what he said there can be applied to the NHS as well.

“Why doesn’t Labour hit out against the Tories where it could so easily secure some significant breakthroughs?” he asked. Why indeed.

The voters didn’t want private companies interfering in the NHS when they went to the polls in 2010. Now that they’ve experienced what it means – and don’t forget the Tory NHS crisis that is most clearly being seen in Accident & Emergency departments is also a symptom of this – they are vehemently against it.

Hinchingbrooke is a perfect opportunity for Labour to lay its cards on the table and promise that all of the expensive, bureaucratic and utterly pointless measures imposed by the Tories, to ensure that private firms get preferential treatment in the awarding of NHS contracts, will be removed – and to vow that the NHS will be restored as a state service providing the best care along with the best value for money.

And Labour stays quiet.

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