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Government is failing in its ethical duty to prevent NHS waste

Statement from NHA co-leader Dr Clive Peedell responding to report on how to prevent waste in the NHS

Story here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29920025

"If the Association of Medical Royal Colleges is looking to make substantial savings, it should shine a light on the waste created by and presided over by this government. The report says doctors have an ethical duty to prevent waste. How about telling the goverment that IT is failing in its ethical duty to prevent waste and it should stop wasting billions of pounds of tax-payers' money on the NHS internal market, PFI loans, privatisation and creating false economies. The list of waste created by and presided over by this government is eye-watering.

“The NHS has been ranked by the influential Commonwealth Fund as the most cost effective health service. According to the international panel of experts, the UK is top of 11 countries including for efficient use of resources, not to mention being ranked as the best overall health care system in the world. But this goverment appears set on undermining this.

"Already the NHS has been forced into making £20 billion of ‘efficiency savings’ by this goverment. If you push too hard the efficiencies become inefficiencies. We’ve seen this played out with the £billions spent on agency staff because the goverment has laid off NHS staff. Just this week a report revealed the NHS has spent £5.5billion paying agency staff to plug huge staffing gaps since David Cameron became Prime Minister.

"The real elephant in the room is the market-driven system which costs at least £5billion a year to run and actually drives demand. Doctors are forced to respond to patients’ wants not their needs.

"GPs are also under tremendous pressure not to miss things. A back ache could turn out to be spinal cancer. The stakes are high when you’re dealing with a person’s life. So it’s totally understandable why sometimes doctors may order what turns out to be, with hindsight, an unncessary test. You don’t know it’s unnecessary until you’ve done it.

"Another huge problem with the market system is that it prevents innovation as hospitals lose income if they provide more efficient treatment.

"A good example is the development of the new radiotherapy technique, stereotactic ablative radiotherapy, in the treatment of lung cancer. This allows curative doses of radiation to be delivered in 3 to 5 treatments rather than 20 treatments of conventional radiotherapy. This is much more convenient for the patient and achieves higher cure rates with less side effects. However since hospitals are paid per fraction of radiotherapy, they lose income by offering the treatment. This market driven payment mechanism clearly discriminates against more cost effective innovative developments in the NHS."

The list of waste created by and presided over by this government:




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