Don't Get Too Sick
Let’s imagine another scenario. You need an operation but the waiting list is a few months. By coincidence, someone you know from work needs the same operation. They’ve decided to spend the money and go private, but it turns out they’ll be treated in the same hospital, by the same doctors, that you’re waiting for, only their operation is scheduled for next week. That’s because the Government is going to allow your local hospital to treat as many private, paying patients as it likes. And since the hospital is now in competition, it sees this as an easy way to make money. The result is obvious – your colleague who can afford it jumps the queue, while people who can’t pay are made to wait.
Imagine you’ve got an elderly relative with a complex health condition that needs lots of care. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that in this new NHS it’s not going to be profitable for a hospital or a GP to treat her. Your relative’s care is going to take a lot of time, a lot of treatment and she might never be cured. Sure enough, she finds that the specialist services she would have relied on are no longer offered by the local hospital. It’s difficult for her to get the care she desperately needs and it’s horrible to watch.
But it won’t be just the elderly who discover that some treatments just aren’t available. Imagine you’ve got a hernia, and you’re told the NHS doesn’t cover that any more. What do you do? Do you pay for private treatment? You might have to, but you want to complain. Who do you go to? Under the Government’s plans, the public health body you would ordinarily have contacted, your local primary care trust, has been abolished. In its place is a private ‘commissioning consortium’ making decisions for you, but you can’t hold it to account.