Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Quote of the Day

” Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, it's inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."

Winston Churchill

Average UK hospital waits rise under New Labour

Before New Labour came to power in 1997 waits for hospital treatment of more than 18 months were not rare, now no-one waits longer than six months. Hurrah! Yes? – No. Not necessarily.

Sounds good, at first sight though, dosn’t it? The sort of soundbite Gordon Brown would proudly boast of in PMQ, or at conference.

The thing is the average wait has risen from 41 days to 49 days. Only 8 days up you may think. But it is 8 days longer on average.

This is a symptom of New Labour thinking. Everyone must be brought to a level. It’s like education, rather than raise up those getting a worse service they bring down everybody to the lowest level. The lowest common denominator, as they used to say - when such terms were recognised and understood by more people. So practically speaking overall levels of delivery drop.

Just so with waiting lists. To drop that headline figure to 6 months it is true that the really long waits have been drastically cut – but so have the really short ones.

So why did there used to be really short waits?

The question is who prioritised those waits back then? Well Doctors did, based on medical need, the urgency of the case. Now they are prioritised in order to meet state targets. One size fits all. So if you really need a short wait…

As chairman of the British Medical Association's consultants committee, Jonathan Fielden, pointed out "Doctors have been stopped from using their clinical judgement and pushing people through the system when they need to be.”

So the question you need to ask yourself is: Are you actually getting a better service, or just taken for yet another ride…