£5 for your life or your parents or grandparents.

It is not often that things really make me angry but this is one such occasion.

I cannot believe that the NHS Commissioning Board have decided to pay GP’s a bounty for not sending people with life threatening conditions to hospital.

“From April, GPs will be monitored for the numbers of patients they refer with pneumonia, severe flu, urinary infections and heart failure – which largely affect older people.”

How much is this bounty – £5.00 yes that is right just £5.00 for each patient not referred to hospital.

As the above quote from the Daily Mail article points out this will affect the elderly more than any other group.

So just imagine one of your elderly relatives going to the GP with any of the above conditions and the GP deciding to leave it another day before sending them to hospital. The GP gives them some more anti-biotics and sends them home. If all goes well the patient recovers the GP receives the £5.00 bounty and everyone is happy.

But what if the patient does not recovers – in fact their condition gets worse – perhaps they die at home – that’s ok the GP still gets their bounty, the hospital has not been troubled by an elderly person who was going to die sooner or later and only that patient and their loved ones are affected.

Alternately the patient deteriorates but refuses to die and is taken to hospital where the subsequently die. Now we do have a problem – no bounty for the GP and the hospital has had to make a space for another inconvenience formerly known as a patient.

I do not believe for one moment that GP’s or hospitals want this and in fact  Laurence Buckman, chairman of the British Medical Association’s GPs’ committee, is quoted in the article as stating: ‘I don’t want  a single patient walking into my surgery and saying my grandma’s dead because you refused to admit her. So we’re not going to admit people with pneumonia? I think most doctors will be horrified by this.’  But it appears that the NHS commissioning board think its a good idea.

Who are these people – you may well ask and the answer is here Who’s who NHS commissioning Board.

I do hope someone from the board can adequately explain this new initiative or that someone will consign it to the dustbin where it belongs.

In the meantime I remain angry that a collection of apparently intelligent people can come up with such an appalling scheme which values peoples lives at £5.00 and expect that we will accept it as a good idea.

If we do it just goes to show how low we as a country have fallen.


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