The Cost of Socialised Medicine

I saw two headines on the same day. The Daily Telegraph said

Death toll from ‘superbugs’ is soaring

and the local paper said

Axe going to fall on hospital jobs

Our local county hospital once had one of the best rates of MRSA and Clostridium difficile in the country. In other words, it was one of the safest hospitals when it came to superbugs. It is still relatively safe as hospitals go, but that isn’t saying much. Between 2003-04 and 2004-05 the number of cases locally increased by 350%.

Now the Telegraph tells us that nationally between 2004 and 2005 “the number of deaths recorded as associated with MRSA rose 39 per cent and those that mentioned Clostridium difficile rose by 69 per cent.”

But this is the reality of socialised medicine. When the system is stretched to the limits, stretch it further. Locally that means axing around 75 jobs in one hospital to meet a £3 million shortfall. It means fewer nurses and less patient care. It means less time to wash hands and change linens. It means less attention to the little things than lead to big problems.

The entire burden won’t be borne by the rank and file. No, the members of the local Hospital Trust have confirmed “a revision of the portfolios of its top managers and executive directors, aimed at saving £80,000 a year.” So 2.67% of the savings will come from the fat at the top. How generous.

Notice that this is achieved by shifting some responsibilities around. No job cuts. Those are reserved for people who actually care for patients.

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