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That's Expensive

"Have you been involved in a car accident that wasn't your fault?" A frequently used intro line from a telephone nuisance caller. The cost of car repairs through an insurance company is often more expensive than if you're paying yourself so there is money to be made. The same happens when quoting for the Government or Councils, the attitude being well it's not their money so let's inflate the price. Public money will be wasted.

The following true story, which was relayed to me, also illustrates the lack of care with public funds and the inability so solve urgent problems.

Derriford Hospital has a waiting list of over 2yrs for some joint replacements so a local sufferer was offered the operation at Epsom Hospital because they had no waiting list.

A taxi was contracted locally, at no expense to the patient, and firstly travelled to Plymouth for the pickup. The patient was accompanied by their spouse. The couple left their large detached house, two cars in the driveway and adjoining acreage for the trip to Epsom. The patient had a consultation and stayed in the hospital while the spouse was accommodated, at no personal cost, at a Premier Inn. The same taxi took the couple home the next day. How much I hear you say?Well, the return taxi charge was £500 to which must be added the cost of the stay at the Premier Inn.

That was just for the preoperative assessment. A couple of weeks later the arrangement was repeated for the actual operation to take place, with the spouse staying three nights at the Premier Inn this time.

All this was free on the NHS. A great service but were the total costs, excluding operation expenses, inflated because the NHS was paying?

Why the waiting list at Derriford and not Epsom? Could it be because of the misconception that bigger is better when really it's just more economic at the sacrifice of service and efficiency. ( The same argument applies against combined police forces) Also, if you have no staff, operating theatres are left idle no matter how big the hospital.

Will the new proposed £15m operating theatres at Torbay Hospital suffer the same fate? Great facilities but without staff, unused. If staff are available why not operate through the night. Introduce shift work, extra pay, and save money paying for taxis and accommodation in Epsom. That's a bit radical I know but a crisis needs a radical solution.


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