December 13, 2012

Forward!: an analogue

Here’s what’s coming our way.  And it ain’t just conservatives who will suffer as a result of our electorate having re-upped for fundamental transformation.  There are old, infirm, in-pain hippies with deteriorating eyesight, too — and no amount of progressive bona fides or Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young on the iPhone will save them from the clinical inefficiency of a bloated, bean-counting bureaucracy bent on protecting its own power, control, and (most especially) funding.

— Which to me is the silver lining in an otherwise black belly of clouds on our new year’s horizon.

Telegraph, UK:

Some 56 per cent of primary care trust clusters told the NAO they had either introduced or tightened criteteria determining which patients are eligible for at least one type of common operation.

Hospitals in certain areas have stopped offering elective treatments for smokers or people above a certain level of obesity, while in others cateract patients are being forced to wait until their eyesight deteriorates further before being allowed surgery.

The figures are revealed today in a report on how well the NHS in England is performing in its attempt to make “efficiency savings” of between £15 billion and £20 billion by March 2015.

Rationing elective operations “essentially defers, rather than avoids, spending”, the report said, which noted that the health service “is making increased use of demand management measures to reduce the growth in hospital activity”.

The NAO called for senior NHS civil servants to introduce a national framework to prevent patients in some areas being subjected to tough new rules on qualifying for treatment while those in others are not.


Sight loss charities say cataracts operations have been particularly hard hit by cost-cutting measures, with patients in some areas having to wait until they are unable to drive or even read before being deemed suitable for surgery. The new report confirmed the number of cateract surgeries in England fell last year.

Orthopaedic surgeons also cite hip and knee replacements, saying that in some parts of the country patients are being left immobile while operations are delayed but in others patients with similar levels of pain or disability are receiving treatment.

In the summer, the heads of Britain’s top surgical organisations warned that patients’ welfare was being compromised by “unproven and arbitrary” rationing that was only a financial “quick fix” for cash-strapped NHS trusts.


Lowering eligibility criteria for “low priority” procedures could prevent patients getting timely treatment and raise the risk of their needing emergency procedures in later years or reduce the effectiveness of future operations, the report claimed.

In most cases primary care trusts said eligibility had been restricted for clinical reasons, but 11 per cent of clusters said rationing measures had been brought in primarily to save money.

More than one in five clusters also reported that financial caps had been set on GP referrals, or that minimum waiting times had been put in place for certain procedures.


The report found that the NHS had made £5.8 billion of savings in 2011-12, principally through the public sector pay freeze and a reduction in the prices primary care trusts pay for treatment.

But it added the figure was uncertain because the savings were reported by the chief executives of primary care trusts and the Department of Health had not independently verified the figures.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said the NHS had made a “good start” in making savings but “to build on these savings and keep pace with the growing demand for healthcare it will need to change the way health services are provided and to do so more quickly.”

That these savings come at the expense of treatment and are similarly helped by death or providing purely pain care in lieu of corrective treatment?  Sorry.  But, choices need be made.  If everyone is to have free health care, you can’t really expect everyone to have free health care treatment, can you?  Why, that defies math!

We should have thought that was obvious.  Hell, even that countrified snowbilly with the public college education figured it out — though we admit to not being terribly fond of the rather inelegant way she put it.  “Death panels”?  Please.  We’re merely realistic accountants.  And sometimes you have to cut your ties to poor investments, like, say, old broken down humans who’ve already had their fair share of life and need to just suck it up and expire.

For the Greater Good.

Meantime, enjoy your free condoms!

(thanks to Brian L)


Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:54am

Comments (23)

  1. Every bit of this is racist

  2. The wards are filthy, there are rubbish bags with surgical waste stacked up in pre-op, and the food sucks. But hey, it’s single payer!

  3. Hey, I thought health care was a right! Has NHS decided that their financial bottom line trumps the rights of these people needing cataract, hip, and knee surgery? Maybe someone should get the government involved to straighten this out. Oh.

  4. I had to go for a knee op a couple of years back – the nearest hospital with a orthopaedic consultant was 2.5 hours by ambulance. Two days later, there was no ambulance back, just a Honda Civic, another patient, and a driver. With my leg in a full brace, I managed to convince the driver to let me lie on the back seat, and I wouldn’t sue if we had a crash. The NHS is a national treasure, we are told. I think it could use a bit of polish, as the shine has gone off.

  5. Oh, that’s just anecdotal, SW, not indicative of the NHS in whole. It’s near perfect!

  6. Almost Cuban quality from what I hear.

  7. “Near perfect”? If “perfect” is located near the butt crack, you may be right, cranky.

  8. I prefer to think of the NHS as it was presented during the Opening ceremony of the last Olympics.

    It’s just a grand affair.

  9. nasty british health cares are nasty

  10. NHS is a government-run HMO with no competition to keep it honest.

  11. we are looking at a booming black market for drugs & DIY surgery. Ppl get desperate enough they will operate on each other. or go to Mexico. same thing

  12. A view from the devolved Scotland.

    NICE ward ya got there. Be a real shame if it was brought into the 21st century or even the late 20th now wouldn’t it.

  13. I had a shoulder injury that needed an MRI scan. “Sorry sir, there’s a 6 month waiting list for a scan”. No wonder.

  14. Already exists in America, Missfixit.

    But we are starting to get to a place where that will be the moral thing to do, which is much worse.

  15. Thankfully, in Scotland we have a health service that is run from Edinburgh by the devolved Scottish Parliament.

    The Daily Record can kiss my airse.

  16. What year are we going to start hearing the peanut gallery yelling, “Renew!”

  17. I already buy my meds from a Canadian pharmacy that ships the stuff from India.

    I’m uninsurable and I’m a contractor, so I have to pay every cent myself. I’ve got an HSA with a Visa card attached which makes the payments easy; however, twice I’ve had to replace the card because of fraud. None of my credit cards have been hacked despite my using them far more often online.

    Oh, and the formerly tax-free HSA account? It’s now “tax advantaged,” which means I’m taxed on what I take out of the account.


  18. I’m surprised Utah doesn’t have an insurance plan to cover you if you cannot be insured normally. Minnesota does, and that’s what I have. I’m also a 1099 worker so it comes out of my pocket.

  19. I’m surprised Utah doesn’t have an insurance plan to cover you if you cannot be insured normally.

    Utah does, and It’s hella expensive. I’ve also got a nominal policy with my contracting company.

    I don’t have any dependents, so Ima playing roulette with the catastrophe.

  20. so Ima playing roulette with the catastrophe.

    i know that life

  21. I bet there is a Youtube instructional video on how to build yourself an MRI machine out of spare automotive parts. Imma go check now…

  22. I don’t have any dependents, so Ima playing roulette with the catastrophe.

    Come on ya apes, ya wanna live forever?!

    Sorry, I watched Star Ship Troopers last night…

  23. My policy costs $343 per month right now. I’m not sure if that qualifies as hella expensive or not. I don’t think so.