Health Problems

April 17, 2007

So obviously health is my thing (but hopefully not the only thing) and I want to cover some specific topics over the next few weeks. So far thanks to praguetory I have got as far as

Doctors remuneration

Perverse incentives in the NHS

Dealing with underperforming doctors

Incentivising the NHS to better financial management

I’d also like to touch on how we can afford healthcare in the future

So thats where I’ll start. Any other suggestions as to what needs to change will be gratefully accepte. Or at least considered



  1. Men Sana, answer me one thing.

    I set up a chef with a restaurant and a decent ‘salary’ to feed the hungry, and went on a trip round the universe.

    When I came back I went to visit the chef, and discovered that he had turned the restaurant into a private restaurant for ‘paying’ customers only.

    I asked him, what about the hungry customers I am paying you to feed. And he replies – “Oh, I haven’t got time for them, I’m too busy making money”

    Do you think I should stop paying him a salary, through him out of the restaurant – and find another chef who is willing to feed the hungry.

    If I pay someone a hundred thousand a year to treat patients – what is he doing worrying about whether patients can pay for his/her services, or not?

    If I pay someone a hundred thousand a year to fix teeth, why does he/she have one sort of treatment for those who he/she treats for ‘free’ – and another sort for those who can pay his/her private fee.

    That is not just unethical & inmoral, but criminal too
    And by the way, the fact that you can pay does not in any way guarantee you’ll get good surgery, it just means you have a better chance of getting surgery – which if you cannot pay will not be made available to you. And they will be willing to argue about the availability or not under the nhs, or the suitability of the patient – anything but admit to either their inability or unwillingness to provide the treatment.

    Sometimes they don’t even know that the service they are providing is shoddy or highly inadequate, because patients are often too humble to complain, or don’t know better – or because they’ve simply never been challenged. NHS dentistry has not changed in 50 years it has simply got worse – not better. Yet spending on private dentistry is still only a fraction of the total spent on dentistry, and NHS dentistry costs.

    But if course the perverse incentive nowdays, is that all dentists hope one or two patients a week pass their door needing (and able) to pay £2000 – and they have no time or inclination to care for the patients unable to pay, whose teeth require ‘time consuming’ repair or maintenance.

  2. Well if you can give me some insights in these areas I would be delighted.

  3. Morning Mens Sana,
    did my comments from last night not make it thru comment moderation, or did they get chewed up by wordpress, and sent into an information black hole?

  4. For some reason the first time anyone comments I have to moderate it-sorry Q9 no censorship here

    I agree with you that the situation regarding dentistry in this country is unacceptable. It seems appalling that one is unable to find an NHS dentist. Dentists claim that it is not cost-effective for them to treat NHS patients, but perhaps they should be forced to do so as a condition of having a license to practice. It is a similar argument, I suppose as to why bus companies need to be made to continue running unprofitable routes so that they can have access to the profitable ones

    Its not necessarily wrong that private and NHS services are different-the NHS is a health service, not a cosmetic service, for instance. But I think that we should make dental health a priority. It was one of NuLabs great promises, remember

  5. Mens sana, what a nice surprise to find you have set up a blog, and on a very topical subject. I know that Andrew Lansley has been following this very closely. It is a terrible situation that it is cheaper to go to Eastern Europe for dentistry than have the treatment in this country.

    I would like to link your site, btw, not sure if you want to be added under Conservatives or other political, perhaps you could advise.

  6. I am a conservative, but this isn’t really planned to be a political blog. I wouldn’t have any problem with either classification

  7. Thank you, I’ll go for other political, but need to sort out my blogroll and hope to find a more appropriate slot.

    There is a story in today’s East Anglian Daily Times featuring an NHS dentist who is retiring and expresses concern about the NHS dentistry decline, there is no link as yet, else I would forward it on.

    Also, Norolk PCT is considering funding the eye treatment for the elderly people I featured recently. I will wait and see what happens and report on the results.

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