With Hillary Clinton a sure thing to run for President, it’s a very safe bet that we’ll be hearing plenty of calls in 2008 for socialized medicine, except it’ll be euphemized as “single payer” government health insurance. Check out this story from the UK on how well that’s working out for the Brits:
Hospitals across the country are imposing minimum waiting times – delaying the treatment of thousands of patients.
After years of Government targets pushing them to cut waiting lists, staff are now being warned against “over-performing” by treating patients too quickly. The Sunday Telegraph has learned that at least six trusts have imposed the minimum times.
In March, Patricia Hewitt, the Secretary of State for Health, offered her apparent blessing for the minimum waiting times by announcing they would be “appropriate” in some cases. Amid fears about £1.27 billion of NHS debts, she expressed concern that some hospitals were so productive “they actually got ahead of what the NHS could afford”.
The Sunday Telegraph has learned of five further minimum-waiting-time directives. In May, Staffordshire Moorlands PCT, which funds services at two hospitals and is more than £5 million in the red, introduced a 19-week minimum wait for in-patients and 10 weeks for out-patients. A spokesman said: “These were the least worst cuts we could make.” In March, Eastbourne Downs PCT, expected to overspend by £7 million this year, ordered a six-month minimum wait for non-urgent operations. Also in March, it was revealed that Medway PCT, with a deficit of £12.4 million, brought in a nine-week wait for out-patient appointments and 20 weeks for non-urgent operations.
Doctors are also resigning. One gynæcologist said that he spent more time doing sudoku puzzles than treating patients because of the measures. Since January, West Hertfordshire NHS Trust, with a deficit of £41 million, has used a 10-week minimum wait for routine GP referrals to hospital. Watford and Three Rivers PCT, £13.2 million in the red, has introduced “demand management”: no in-patient or day case is admitted before five months.
Oh, yeah, sign me up for that.