Today’s Observer reports that:
NHS trusts with record waiting lists are promoting “quick and easy” private healthcare services at their own hospitals, offering patients the chance to jump year-long queues
This, whilst not a new thing, does not feel good in the midst of a growing NHS crisis, particularly if it’s on the rise. The private services that are provided - whether a £300 MRI scan or a £10,000 hip replacement - supposedly don’t impact the services the NHS provides under its public funding. But they often take place in the same premises with the same staff that you would get if you made it to the top of the public waiting list.
I’m sure there’s some technicality that allows them to say it’s not sucking resources from our still much loved public health system. But, simplistically, at the end of the day it surely is potential life-or-death British medical capacity that is exclusively available to the rich rather than the person that needs it the most.
The ideal of course would be that the NHS working conditions and funding was improved such that there was no incentive for hospitals or medical staff to operate a private practice at all. For now though, we’ll have to decide whether to laugh or cry at the Shalborune Private Health Care website’s claim that “We believe quality healthcare should be readily accessible.”