NHS cuts in the UK: at last, some truly realistic proposals
However instead of looking at cuts that could affect the delivery of cancer services along with many other vital functions, perhaps the NHS could do without the following measures to improve cost-effectiveness:
Hand sanitizers: silly little squirty boxes used mostly these days for visitors to hang their bags on while waiting for the ward doors to open immediately prior to visiting time. Far more effective – and cheaper – is to sit visitors on those awful plastic chairs at least 2 metres away from patients to avoid infection, preferably facing away from said patients. And while we’re about it why not sit them outdoors (where appropriate, i.e. probably not outside a 17th floor ward) looking into the ward where their folks are? Easy and cheap!
Extensive male and female toilets: oblige all in-patients to have urinary catheters fitted on admission and be hooked up to wee-wee bags. OK, the infection rate might rise a bit, but toilet numbers could be reduced substantially with consequently large cost savings on cleaning, plumbing repairs, removal of graffiti, etc. – a mere bagatelle compared with the cost of NICE’s latest approved bargain-basement drugs for UTIs. Frequent visitors could be offered urinary catheterisation too, to save them using visitors’ toilets which could then be reduced to a few in a shed by the main door.
TV, radio, internet, telephone, the latest from the Starship Enterprise and messages from outer space at your bedside: half the time these fancy systems cost fortunes to use. They’re manned and monitored by nice people who sweep by every few days on the ward asking if yours is working OK, because a) it usually isn’t and b) if it is most of us don’t know how to switch it on, never mind use it. I know the NHS probably gets a kick back from the companies providing these services but at what expense of having to dust and clean the damned things? Anyway, whatever happened to good old-fashioned (and free) hospital radio?
Hospital shops manned by volunteers: OK, an opportunity to use volunteers to sell books, magazines, gifts etc. to guilty visitors when they turn up and realise they’ve forgotten to bring some sort of goody to cheer up the patient their visiting. But that’s the visitors’ problem. Tell them to go across the street and buy that stuff from a supermarket or corner store, so freeing up volunteers to make tea and coffee for the patients – and/or staff - instead.
And what about out in the community? Take the automated, screen-based check-in facilities when you come to visit your GP, for example. You tap the screen with your finger and after asking you a few brainless question the computer usually finds you and checks you in. Of course it’s too easy to say hi to the receptionist you’ve known for 20 years so she knows you’re here for your appointment? People are cheaper – and a lot friendlier.
What tips have you got to help the NHS make some truly realistic cuts in the United Kingdom? Please share them here, no matter how outrageous!
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