Market Madness 161

The first post of 2013 comes to you from the cardiac care unit of the QEQM Hospital in Margate. Three days ago I collapsed for the second time in two days; an ambulance was called and a paramedic arrived within 5 minutes, with a full ambulance arriving inside a further five minutes. The NHS at its amazing best. I am well looked after.

This is how the NHS should work; public services provided by the state quickly, efficiently and directly. Yet a couple of weeks previously I had an example of just how the NHS should not operate. I returned from Ghana with a persistent ear infection, resulting in pain, deafness and loss of balance. I went to see the GP who agreed to refer me to a consultant. A few days later, instead of an appointment, I received a letter outlining the NHS “choose and call” programme listing a number of hospitals and phone numbers, and giving me a code to use to book an appointment. This is all in the name of patient choice.

But I really do not want this choice. I want my local hospital – and every local hospital – to have an ENT consultant working to a high standard who can sort out an ear infection. Then I want an appointment to see them quickly. I am not buying a novel or a washing up liquid. The idea that every transaction involving provision of state services should be based on an expensively created and entirely artificial market mechanism is an ideological frippery. Behind that letter lies a mass of administration to record my choice and shuffle invoices and financial transfers between my GP’s practice and whichever hospital I pick. Those invoices and transfers are all entirely internal state administration yet add massively to – multiply – the cost of simply getting a man to look down my ear canal.

There is a parallel here to the private sector distortion by which the middlemen who transfer the money for transactions have contrived ways to complicate that function until they are the major beneficiaries of economic activity.

Thankfully in emergencies this craziness is not yet applied. But I do not rule out one day being stretchered into an ambulance, asked where I want to go and handed a telephone.

161 thoughts on “Market Madness

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  • Komodo

    Get well soon, Craig.
    Re. the NHS, the underlying assumptions are endemic to the system. Which can’t even serve its own purposes. Due to there being a lot of parcels at Christmas, surprise, surprise, the UKBA is currently eight days behind with processing stuff from Abroadia. Pity the poor importer. And I see from my soaraway Guardian that the NHS is about to subcontract* to a further 105 private firms. No doubt the customer – that’s you, folks – will now be contributing to the crazy lifestyle of maybe 500 besuited fatcats as a result…

    *sell itself off

  • Phil

    John Goss 7 Jan, 2013 – 10:00 am
    “PressTV want to know whether the documentary about the death of Dr David Kelly cut off in the first showing.”

    I watched it online live streaming at 01:30 and it showed no problem all the way through.

  • guano

    Dr Kelly knew very well that weapons of mass destruction had been removed by Saddam at the behest of his Zionist controllers from Iraq to Syria maybe on the promise that he would get another reprieve like Bush Senior gave him after Kuwait.

    Zionism needs to be seen by the world in the reflected light of Religion not dirty politics. Islam and Christianity make Israel look like the father and grandfather of the true religion while secularism or atheism make it look like a dirty, political, racist, violent apartheid.

    Assad is a polytheist same as Dr Kelly. Europe was conducting a secular enquiry into facts on the ground. Assad’s polytheism will be replaced by some form of Islamic rule and Dr Kelly’s and Europe’s polytheism led to them being removed. Religion is the key.

  • Rose

    I too watched the first part all the way through without a problem other than the mildly annoying frequent buffering; same with second part, until like others, was cut off from the last 10 mins.

  • guano

    When the English get a good run at colonial power they turn their own country into a chartered zone of privelege for the rich, and squeeze the poor mercilessly:

    LONDON – William Blake

    I wander through each chartered street,
    Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
    And mark in every face I meet,
    Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

    In every cry of every man,
    In every infant’s cry of fear,
    In every voice, in every ban,
    The mind-forged manacles I hear:

    How the chimney-sweeper’s cry
    Every blackening church appals,
    And the hapless soldier’s sigh
    Runs in blood down palace-walls.

    But most, through midnight streets I hear
    How the youthful harlot’s curse
    Blasts the new-born infant’s tear,
    And blights with plagues the marriage-hearse

  • Mary

    Christine Gilbert, once head of Ofsted and ousted by Gove, lined herself up to become head of the Academies Commission. At Ofsted she was on £200k pa. Goodness knows what her new job pays.

    The Academies Commission is reporting today that the selection procedure at academies is weighted to influence academic results, ie they pick the brightest children. No surprise there! Under NuLabour who introduced them, admission was theoretically open to all.

    Ms Gilbert is married to ex NuLabour minister Tony McNulty, who was found to be claiming his second home expenses for a house which his parents lived in.

    Gilbert has her own company I see which is run in conjunction with her other job I presume.

    No opportunites are missed by this pair of troughers to increase their wealth.

  • Mary

    The Academies Commission is joint funded by the RSA and the Pearson Think Tank.

    ‘Unleashing greatness: Getting the best from an academised system

    This new report from the Academies Commission, set up by the Pearson Think Tank and the RSA, examines the impact of the academies programme and explores the opportunities and risks of academisation.’

    The RSA is yet another niche for the neo-liberals.

  • Mary

    Seven old prisons are to be closed down and a further two are to be partially closed. I see an opportunity there for developers to convert them to bijoux apartments and build on the surrounding land. Grayling follows on from yesterday’s probation service privatisation announcement with a plan to build a Titan type prison for 2,000 inmates. It will be workhouses next Mr Grayling.

    PS Did anyone know that Grayling is the Lord Chancellor? He has no legal background though.

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