Thursday, 20 December 2007

Bureaucratic nightmare

There has been plenty of talk in the media of late on the subject of the EU's attempt for a free market in health. Obviously there would be some advantages to such a scheme, for example it may well lead to the dismantling of the ineffective internal market; however how on earth could such a scheme be practical?

"Under the draft plans - which are now expected to be announced in the New
Year - a patient would have to be referred by a medical professional and
demonstrate they faced an "undue" delay for treatment in their own country.

They would have to pay for the cost of their treatment up front, and
then claim it back from the NHS. The patient would also have to meet travel
costs themselves."

Is it just me, or would the potential costs in the form of the bureaucratic burden of this new scheme far outweigh any benefits that it may bring? Just imagine the potential for a proliferation in the costs of running and managing the market, let alone regulating it. At the end of the day people just want good local services, they do not want to travel to other countries for their operations. Also a lot of medical work is done as an emergency and cannot be done electively; the elective work is needed to keep a hospital ticking over so that it can provide its emergency care. Thus if hospitals lose their elective work then their emergency services will suffer, and who will pay the price for this? It will be those unfortunate enough to get ill in these areas.

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