Monday, May 5, 2008

Monbiot on polyclinics

Great piece by Monbiot in the Grauniad last week. Monbiot exposes the government's drive to centralise and hand GPs over to 'BigHealth', the corporate health care companies such as United Health, Netcare, and more latterly, Virgin.

This policy screws patient care, sticks two fingers up at local communities, puts more traffic on our roads and hands vast profits to BigHealth. I acknowledge that GPs have always been outside of the NHS and have reaped gross profits in recent years, I also acknowledge that they need tackling - but not like this... GP should be brought into the NHS and paid a fair salary and surgery staff should be paid a fair salary too.

Polyclinics that consume local GP surgeries are wrong. Polyclinics that provide an additional layer of health care, such as in Cuba, are what we need. In Cuba, GPs have small practices, often single handed and looking after around 700 people (compared with perhaps 2000 per GP in the UK and 6000 per practice). They then have polyclinics to provide out of hours GP services, XRAYs, minor injuries, therapies, consultant outpatients etc. These form a bridge between hospitals and GP surgeries - this is the model that we need. Cuba has the most efficient health care in the world.

However, Labour want to make sure that their BigHealth friends rake in huge profits and stuff real people (and of course the Tories are furious about this as they never had the balls to do it, but you can be certain that despite the 'safe in their hands' crap, they would be selling the NHS off just as fast now).


By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 29th April 2008.
Everything is getting bigger and further away. Hospitals, post offices, schools and prisons are being “rationalised” and “consolidated”. The government says that this process improves efficiency. Instead, it outsources inefficiency: we must travel further to use public services. This is bad for the environment, bad for community life, bad for universal provision. But we haven’t seen anything yet. We are about to be confronted with the biggest shutdown of all: the government has started the process of closing England’s network of doctors’ surgeries.

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