Saturday, June 30, 2007

Peak Oil and health care

Peak oil, where the supply of oil plateaus in contrast to continually rising demand, should be exercising politician's mind across the world, however we hardly hear about it. We are probably hitting peak oil now and the Australians (ASPO) have released and excellent paper on the effects on health care.

One of the key concerns is the centralisation of services and will affect access by patients in the face on increasing costs of transport.

This is a quote from ASPO:
"There has been for years an increasing trend to centralise services which is driven by:
• The cost of resources, the need to minimise duplication and to extract maximum use from equipment and institutions with huge capital and operating costs.
• Medico-legal pressure to have as many services as possible provided in centres of excellence with expertise in uncommon conditions.
• Shortages of qualified staff

This process is continuing and gathering pace, it must be reassessed in the light of peak oil. The NHS in the UK is currently proposing to downgrade facilities at a wide range of hospitals and relocate them to Super- Hospitals to save money. Even at present levels of fuel prices and within the existing limits of mobility, this proposal is causing alarm. The added impact of peak oil will tragically show this to be a lethal and short sighted error of judgement."

Dr Paul Roth has an excellent blog which is a must read.

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