Some patients with chronic lung disease need oxygen, and rather than keep them in hospital, these patients often have cylinders of oxygen delivered to them at their home.
Until recently it was the pharmacist who supplied these cylinders, but the government in it’s infinite wisdom has decided to privatise the supply of oxygen. This means more paperwork, which NHS Blog Doc has already covered.
And now a patient has died, possibly due to a delay getting her oxygen delivered. It drives me crazy that I spend my time in my ambulance going to 23 year old men with coughs, yet apparently no ambulance was called for this woman.
It all comes down to the government wishing to run the health service like a business.
I know that some people believe that the free market will constantly provide superior service to anything run by the government. Unfortunately healthcare isn’t a ‘market’ and this market view of the NHS leads towards some very silly initiatives. It’s why ‘failing’ hospitals get less money than ‘successful’ hospitals, who would want to throw money into a failing business?
Why are hospitals so dirty? Because of the free market contracting of cleaners to the cheapest supplier – regardless of the quality of the cleaning.
It’s also why, despite increasing numbers of patients, increasing calls, very few new staff and all the other reasons why we may not meet our government ORCON target this year, we’ll get less money to be spent on improving our service.
But what do I know – I’m a van driver not an economist.