A new announcement from Jeremy Hunt is yet another cost cutting attempt at trimming down front line services with the aim of saving cash. The health secretary wants to “remove more medical decisions from the hands of doctors and therefore let computers and protocols decide aspects of care instead” I like tech, but I would prefer a qualified human doctor and not Microsoft XP handling all aspects of my care if I were to be in hospital. Mr Hunt also states that this implementation has been successful within the US health system and therefore we in the UK should be adopting similar processes.
It would not be an elected politician without a bizarre example, and Mr Hunt gave just that with the notion of production techniques that have been copied from a, (you may think originally from a hospital) no, a “Japanese car company had been copied and applied to healthcare” within a hospital in the US. Not sure human organs and brake pads can be particularly compared when devising healthcare policy. If you’re wondering, it was a hospital in Seattle that copied the production techniques from Toyota and by doing so is ranked among the safest hospitals in the world, read that in a Clarkson voice if you will.
This idea depends on the agenda of execution. Yes we all want safer hospitals and any PROVEN protocol is to be welcomed, but, is this with the aim of cutting both doctors and also staff from wards. The Tory government is aiming to cut billions from spending and is also looking to force through a new working contract for junior doctors that will see penalties for over working doctor’s scrapped and longer working hours implemented. There has been a track record in many sectors of reducing staff in favour of computer IT systems, hopefully staffing levels can be maintained and increased to meet demand, after all, a virtual paperclip cannot treat you in real life.
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Image courtesy of twitter.