Yesterday, I wrote about proposed legislation that will introduce fines in the event of NHS Trusts providing incorrect data as to mortality rates. This follows previous arrangements where they were to be fined for failing to provide single-sex wards.
Today, The Mail reports that Ambulance Trusts are being fined for waiting outside overcrowded casualty units, something that is hardly under the control of those running the ambulances. Apparently the contracts impose fines of £200 for every patient who has
to wait for longer than 30 minutes for admission to A&E, and £1,000
for each patient forced to wait more than an hour.
Now whilst I have every sympathy for the patients having to wait for admission, the duty of the ambulance crews is to get the patients to hospital as soon as possible, and it is surely the fault of the hospital if they cannot be admitted. If fines are to be levied (and I still think that this is the wrong approach), surely the fines should be imposed on the Hospitals whose A&E departments are unable to admit the patients. I can now visualise the ambulances turning off their "blues and twos" and going the long way round when they hear over the radio that the A&E is packed, simply in the hope of avoiding fines.
For once I agree with Shadow Health Secretary Andy
Burnham said that depriving one part of the Health Service of money as a
‘punishment’ for delays beyond its control was divisive and
If anyone should be fined, it is those managers who are responsible for the closure of A&E departments at hospitals around the country. We have an increasing population which is getting progressively older, we have GPs who only do a five day week and rely, effectively, on A&E for out of hours cover, so what do these NHS managers do? Close about half of our A&E departments! But logic no longer applies in the NHS and it's a win-win situation for the Treasury who will recover some £90 million if the Mail's figures are correct. Do our Eton educated Ministers really believe that depriving NHS Trusts of money will make them more efficient? Or is it what they were taught on their PPE courses at Oxford?
The NHS madness continues.
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