Sunday, 25 September 2016

Having to make decisions on health spending > and making sure the decision-making is accountable

The NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group are putting out their latest proposals for health provision to consultation:
Futures Forum: The future of Sidmouth's hospital: very little 'public consolation' as proposals are made to cut all inpatient beds
Futures Forum: The future of Sidmouth's hospital >>> campaigning for Option B 'to keep the hard-earned facilities and staff'

The South Devon and Torbay CCG are also conducting consultations on their proposals - in the context of the changing needs around health service provision:

To meet rising demand for services, do more to help people stay well and use our limited staff more effectively, the NHS locally needs to change. We need to invest more in the services that most people use and work more closely with social care and the voluntary sector.

We think the most effective way to do this is by switching resources from hospital based care to community based services which will enable more people to be supported in or near their own homes. In proposing these changes, our focus is not on what has worked well in the past but what will work well in the future.

It is clear that there is not a bottomless pot of gold and that priorities have to be made. 

However, there is considerable disquiet as to how the whole process of trying to make those choices is being conducted:

Massive bed cuts across Devon proposed in NHS leaked document

Thursday, 08 September 2016 3 Comments


3. At 01:12 pm on 09th Sep Paul F wrote:

Whilst I am against the cuts - and absolutely against the undemocratic way this is happening without debate or real consultation - we have to be realistic that:

a. Health services (in the widest sense) and the NHS in particular are the type of services which can spend whatever money is given to them - in a positive sense it is a bottomless pit.

b. The UK cannot possibly fund every possible health option that we might want - there has to be a line drawn somewhere.

So the real question is where this line is drawn - and even more importantly (if that is possible) how this decision is taken, with full debate and real consultation, with full understanding of the consequences both positive and negative, and ideally with the majority of the public supporting these changes (though that may be impossible).

One of the major areas of consequences that need to be understood is whether cuts to the NHS will result in even bigger increases in costs for e.g. social care. Moving the problem (and associated costs) from A to B doesn’t save money - most likely the unplanned consequences and costs of the changes themselves (such as £B consultancy contracts) will cost far more than is saved.

Previous cuts have had a noticeable negative impact on local medical services - once (only a few years ago) a brilliant medical service at the RD&E, the reduction in quality is quite noticeable. Goodness knows what the results of these next cuts will be.

However, it is the secrecy, lack of debate, lack of consultation and apparent complete ignorance of the consequences which make me so angry. The UK is supposed to be a democratic society - but under the current government this is becoming increasingly less so. (See also, Academy Schools i.e. privatisation, devolution i.e. privatisation, etc. etc.)

Massive bed cuts across Devon proposed in NHS leaked document - Claire Wright.

Indeed, there's quite a debate going on out there:
We can afford the NHS. The question is whether we are willing to pay for it | Polly Toynbee | Opinion | The Guardian
Turn Off the Computer and Listen to the Patient - WSJ

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