Hospitals ‘letting patients die to save money’ – Telegraph

UK National Health Service on Second Life - In...

UK National Health Service on Second Life – Inside the Ultrasound Scanner Room (Photo credit: DanieVDM)

The title of this Telegraph political blog caught my attention this morning. It’ well worth a read. Check it out!

Hospitals ‘letting patients die to save money’ – Telegraph.

The article raises important moral and ethical questions in my view. For sure, the quality of public healthcare is falling as the screws of austerity are tightened.

What do you think?

6 responses

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  5. The NHS does it in other ways too so this is nothing new.

    Ambulances can turn up late because of inefficient dispatching and on the way the patient dies.
    There was even a case where a paramedic got out of an ambulance and started filling in a 16 page risk assessment form before entering the house where a patient was close to death. The patient died before the paramedic had finished writing.(Source Daily Telegraph)

    In my own late father’s case, the treatment was ok but the hospital wanted to discharge him before he could walk properly (the hospital wanted the bed and discharged 150 “elderly and confused” patients including him into a blizzard that had been forecast for more than 2 months). At the time some 22 ambulances were waiting with their engines running whilst nurses and ambulancemen fought on the fire escape because not all the relatives had brought winter clothing for the elderly and confused patients to be safely discharged.

    The patients themselves were eventually put into these ambulances as the blizzard came in and the scene of one ambulance after another was just like the scene in the film Dr Zhivago when the character walks into the oncoming Russian snow and is engulfed prior to disappearing.

    By using my own MP, Oliver Heald, a very forceful and effective man, I managed to get him the treatment he needed but only after a lot of arm twisting.

    Selena Scott the actress had a similar traumatic experience with her own father which she wrote about in the Daily Mail and so have tens of thousands of others.

    This sort of thing happens every day as does the practice of consultants and doctors telling nurses “I don’t want to see Mrs Jones on this ward in the morning”.

    It is safer than putting up a DNR (Do not resusitate) sign over the bed because it is as deniable as the phrase once uttered by an English King “Who will rid me of this turbulent priest”.

    The truth is that we operate a national sickness service and pretend that with 5.95% of GDP and built in inefficiency we can deliver free healthcare to everyone that wants it.

    The reality is rationing and when it is NICE doing the rationing it is easy to stretch out their decision making so that terminal patients do not get the drugs they need to survive.

    The solution is to pay GPs to keep people well, as happens in China rather than paying them for the size of their patient lists as we do here, then wonder why we get malingerers in GPs’ surgeries. It is to educate people to look after themselves with proper diet, supplementation, exercise and natural light and to discourage them from drinking on an empty stomach.

    A variable tax on foods would help, as would more straight talking and the amalgamation of Adult Social Care and the NHS under a single administration and budget.

    On top of that we need a rational debate on how much people are willing to spend on healthcare, which treatments are to be given and withheld, the circumstances under which treatment is deemed to be efficacious and root and branch reform of the NHS and the retraining of nurses.

    • John, many thanks for your detailed response here, which I am inclined to broadly endorse. I was saddened to read the story of your late father – I suspect that many families now have similar stories.

      Whilst there are powerful stakeholder groups looking after their own interests, I hold David Cameron’s Government primarily responsible for the current mess.

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