I have been mulling on a note informing the intended recipient that she would be prayed for, wondering somewhat facetiously whether those prayers wouldn’t best be put on hold, given this was what had happened to the appointment. God bless the idiosyncratic ways of our glorious NHS, inviting prospective patients in for a pre-op assessment without knowing the date of the operation itself. Whilst I love the principle, I continue to be bemused - and that’s being polite - at the level of waste and inefficiency we grant this 1.7 million tentacled behemoth.
I am perplexed too at those ivory-towered dwelling hospital consultants who in railing against reform speak of the dangers of fragmentation, giving the wholly erroneous perception that the many parts of the NHS sing in perfect harmony. Imagine a public diktat requiring Tesco, admittedly a minnow in comparison, to only sell food it had grown itself. Somehow they manage a huge number of suppliers in a joined-up fashion and in doing so provide a better service to the customer.
It is of course a heresy to compare the NHS to anything; it is unique, real-world comparisons simply don’t apply. Foolish me to suggest that any concerns over cherry-picking by those evil private corporations might be allayed with an overly simplistic analogy on 2-for-1 tubs of ice-cream; “when the offer stops we shop elsewhere” I suggested. “But you can’t” she replied, “You can’t compare the NHS to ice-cream”.
Kirsty MacColl, 20 December 2000
8 hours ago