Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Another reorganisation of regulation

It seems that the government never learns from its mistakes. They have created yet another regulator, the Health Quality Commission, to enforce its centrally driven targets. So what will this new regulator actually do?

"The Care Quality Commission will have the power to close wards and order more frequent checks. The watchdog will focus on safety and quality across health and adult social care services, inboth the NHS and the independent sector. In particular it will be able toclose services that are unsafe, or where there is some other serious breach which is putting patients at risk. "
That all sounds well and good, but in reality it means very little indeed. As the government has cut bed numbers and with hospitals running at near 100% occupancy, I fail to see how shutting wards in over strecthed hospitals will do anything to address the root causes of these problems. The talk of fining trusts for not complying with centralised dictats is ludicrous, as the trusts in trouble are invariably the ones with the most financial debts, hence fining them is likely to potentiate the problem. This quote demonstrates the completely deluded thinking of whoever has come up with this bright idea of yet another reorganisation:

"Many of the powers are already available to the existing regulators, but
ministers hope tougher action will be taken by merging the responsibilities into
one body."

They should be asking questions now as to why the regulatory bodies are not doing their jobs properly, another reorganisation is unlikely to solve this problem as if by magic.

"The Care Quality Commission will also have an
important role in supporting patient choice, through assessing and providing
information on the performance of providers of adult social care and health
care, and in ensuring value for taxpayers' money."

This is the real truth of it. This regulatory body will be yet another vehicle by which the government can railroad through its anti-democratic privatisation of the health service. The disingenuous 'patient choice' really means 'government choice', as most people simply want good local NHS services and do not want to see their hard earnt cash donated to private firms that are friendly with the government. If the Care Quality Commission really cared for the quality of health care and for ensuring value for taxpayers' money, then they would tell the government to scrap the internal market and return to the days when hospitals were not run from Whitehall, thus ensuring that local people could have a say about their local NHS. As things are going though this reorganisation promises to waste yet more tax payers' money doing exactly what the taxpayer doesn't want.

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