Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Walk in Centres - money up in smoke and the cancer farce

It turns out that Lord Darzi of Denham's great idea, the nurse-run Walk in Centre (WIC) been an expensive disaster. Not only have these WICs provided a dodgy service that has led many people to be simply referred onto AE or an actual General Practitioner with a medical degree, but they turn out to be incredibly expensive at over 50 pounds per consultation.

Walk in Centres are bad in many ways, they result in further fragmentation of the continuity of care that is so important for decent patient care, they are also often put into place in a way that undermines local services by taking a lot of money away from far more efficient services. The APMS route is clearly a corrupt farce. Professor Pollock sums it up well for WICs, they are great for:

"the instant gratification for the walking well"

And not much else from what I've heard and seen myself. Some of the mickey mouse medicine that goes on at these Fisher Price units beggars belief. They really demonstrate nicely the fact that the government wants privatisation at any cost, quite literally.

ps it is funny in a dark and sad kind of way that the government is trying to blame GPs for taking too long to refer cancer patients to hospital specialists, strange that this is from the same government that can't spare a few million to save the NHS as numerous PCTs run out of cash and order GPs to cut their referral numbers. So on one hand GPs must refer less as there is no money, but on the other they must refer more to increase quick cancer diagnoses, can GPs possibly win?