Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.
I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!
But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:
- My views might have changed in the 11 years since I wrote this post.
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Many thanks for your understanding.
The Observer reports today that
A private company is being accused of charging NHS patients exorbitant rates to use the phone and watch TV.
This is a private company which has paid to help improve NHS services. As with any private company, the most important thing for them is that they make money, and they’ve spent millions of pound installing the Patientline service with the government’s backing. Now that they are trying to recoup those costs, and make a profit, it is the private company that is being critcised.
This seems deeply illogical to me – the NHS is so misfunded that private companies are having to be brought in provide the services which patients view as necessary. Patients are then asked to pay for these services, because the government won’t. And yet it is the private company which gets criticised.
Michael Summers, chairman of the Patients Association: says: ‘It’s critical that people who are unable to visit a sick, elderly or very young patient should be able to get through to them at a reasonable price. These charges are too high and callers should be told very clearly how much they’re paying for the service.’
Surely in a National Health Service, it is the job of the government to provide ‘critical’ services. Their failure to do so should reflect badly on them, not the private companies they invite to step into the breach. And I’m quite surprised that The Observer of all newspapers has chosen not to point this out.