Thursday, April 19, 2007

The NHS computer meltdown continues

What's a wasted few billion among friends? Hundreds of millions are often spent on government computer projects before they are abandoned but it takes the NHS to commit waste on this scale. Think how many more doctors and nurses they could have hired with 12 billion! Once again, Britain makes Kafka look unimaginative. The whole affair is beyond rational comprehension. The one thing it shows is how unbelievably wasteful a socialist government can be with the people's money in pursuing their dreams of control

Urgent action is needed to rescue the 12 billion pound programme for upgrading the NHS computer system, the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons has said. Over budget and behind schedule, the National Programme for IT is "not looking good", according to a report from the committee.

Edward Leigh, the Conservative MP who chairs the committee, said: "Urgent remedial action is needed if the long-term interests of NHS patients and taxpayers are to be protected. "The electronic patient clinical record, which is central to the project, is already running two years late; the suppliers are struggling to deliver; and, four years down the line, the costs and benefits for the local NHS are unclear."

Ministers said that the criticisms were out of date and that the costs of the programme had not escalated.


NHS model crumbling

The NHS is unlikely to be free at the point of use within 10 years, say doctors. A British Medical Association poll of 964 young GPs and hospital doctors found 61% thought patients would have to pay for some treatment by 2017. Nearly half of all young doctors also expect to leave the NHS within 10 years, according to the survey. All three main political parties have ruled out bringing in a form of charging in the short-term.

The doctors questioned were members of the BMA's Junior Members Forum, which effectively represents the top doctors of the future as it includes those who have graduated within the last 12 years and students. The poll also revealed 94% thought the role of the private sector would continue to grow. A total of 48% of those questioned said they envisaged they would have left the NHS within 10 years, with only a third (35%) of those saying that would be through choice.

Forum chairman Dr Andrew Thomson said it was time to have a debate about the future of the NHS because of pressures from the ageing population and new, ever-more expensive drugs. "Doctors fear that current reforms are damaging the NHS beyond repair. "We seem to be selling off the service to the highest bidder without considering the legacy for future generations of patients. "Government reforms are having negative effects on both services and the morale of doctors. We need to find ways of moving the NHS towards a period of stability. At the moment it is under serious threat. "We will be the ones making the decisions in the future and implementing changes so we want to know what the public, profession and political parties think."

Various options have been put forward, including asking patients to contribute towards the cost of some minor treatments, such as varicose veins, or excluding them from NHS care altogether. There has also been suggestions that an NHS tax could be introduced to help pay for the extra demands on the health service. Dr Thomson said his members were not expressing a favour for any one option, but he suggested patients may well be ready for a change in the system.

BMA policy is still that the NHS should be free at the point of need, although the issue is likely to be discussed at the doctors' annual conference, which sets policy, later this year. But a spokeswoman for the Patients Association said: "I think it is an important principle that where care is needed it is free. "We would not be in favour of patients paying for care where doctors say it is necessary."

The Department of Health has defended NHS reforms, saying it is committed to creating "a truly patient-led service". "What will not change is our commitment to a universal, tax-funded service, with equal access for all," said a spokesman.


Brit "journalists" shaft Israel: "The British reporters union just voted to boycott Israel. The boycott is intended to de-legitimize Israel's right to exist in peace and freedom. It is an endorsement of the Arab-Iranian war against Jerusalem, based on the South African model where the white minority gave up power after an international boycott. But as usual, the Left has its head where the sun shineth not. Contrary to the malevolent Jimmy Carter, Israel is at least as far from an "apartheid nation" as Norway or America. But facts don't count when ideology (and oil dollars to the Jimmy Carter's Center) are at stake. Nobody who follows the British media, like BBC and the Guardian, can be surprised. Today anti-Israel hatred is the disease of the Left, making common cause with Islamofascism. Well, National Socialism was also a kind of Socialism. That's why they called it that. The neo-Fascist Left is not new, but its return to power is very disturbing."

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