Three for One Health Special!

And now a news story that manages to annoy me in three distinct ways. The BBC reports that the
Life expectancy gap ‘is widening’, which while not good news (all else being equal I think most people would prefer the gap to close) this is not in itself annoying. The three annoying points are;

1. The NAO says the figures mean a Labour government target to reduce the difference in life expectancy by 10% by 2010 is unlikely to be met.

Sodding government targets. Why anyone even bothers measuring them I’ve no idea, they were only ever a cheap headline and never got resourced (apart from the PR and monitoring). So after wasting money publicising them we now get fleeced again assessing them. Why? Seriously why?

2. It is calling for more investment to help GPs tackle problems like smoking and poor diet in poor communities.

The solution is ‘Basically we need more money’. It’s always that, never ‘We recommend taking a step back and thinking about this’, instead the demand is always to hurl more money at the problem in exactly the same way. The report goes on to say anti-smoking campaigns were less effective in poorer areas and so the solution is to double the spend on said campaigns. WTF?

Leaving aside the fact we probably can’t afford to see too many smokers quit (tax revenues are ~£10 billion a year from tobacco duties alone) this is madness. The schemes don’t work in poorer areas for whatever reason so why on earth will doing the same thing but harder be any different? Why not instead recommend changing the scheme, perhaps to one that might work. Why not spend the extra money on a research scheme to find out what will work? But then I suppose if the schemes work and people stop smoking all the anti-smoker workers will be out of a job; it’s in their interest for the scheme to fail or they’ll all be made redundant.

3. But it says that at present the system “does not provide enough of an incentive” to encourage family doctors to focus on the neediest groups in their practices.

Bloody GPs! Apparently we need to pay them more to actually care about their patients. Because £100k a year for a three day week just isn’t enough money, they need a lot more of our cash before they’ll put down the golf clubs and actually do any work. Heaven forbid that a GP ever does anything without being paid a fortune for it.

Or we could sack the lot of them, spend the money on practice nurses, pharmacies that can issue antibiotics/painkillers/contraception and expanded A&E. Such a situation would be functionally identical to where we are now but with several  massive advantages; 1. Golf courses will go bankrupt 2. When you have an ear infection you’ll just get some drugs instead of being patronised by an idiot of a GP who will eventually works out that you have an ear infection and then send you somewhere else to get some drugs 3. Nurses actually are (mostly) caring professionals so would help their patients instead of being unmitigated selfish arseholes like most GPs.

I can but hope in the ‘savage’ spending cuts to come everyone involved in this report is sacked and maybe even deported. They wont be of course, the civil service never cuts its own bureaucracy or the useless jobs (front line services are favourite because that scares politicians off from making cuts in the first place) , but it’s a dream.

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One Response to “Three for One Health Special!”

  1. […] Read more: Three for One Health Special! « Waiting for the time of the Wicker Man […]

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