Out of Hours
Competition can prove effective medicine - Times Online
Under Tony Blair, the threat of the private sector was used to try to change the behaviour of hospitals and consultants.
Independent Sector Treatment Centres (ISTCs), run by private companies and staffed by doctors mostly from overseas, were given contracts for carrying out elective operations such as knee and hip replacements and cataract operations. Although the centres have conducted only a small minority of such operations and many have worked well below capacity, their effects have been very significant, ministers argue.
This is because the threat of competition, when combined with other policies such as patient choice and payment by results, has forced NHS hospitals to improve their own performance. Waiting lists have melted away not because ISTCs have performed millions of operations but because hospitals have raised their game in response.
The "threat of competition", no the "promise of competition"! So the government is using the same tactic to try and restore an "out of hours" health service from GPs. Excellent, we have blogged before on this. But if it works for hospitals, how about Schools, Milk Marketing, Rubbish Collection and all those other governmental monolithic monsters?