Friday, 12 May 2017
Competition taken too far
Yesterday I went to the audiology department of our local NHS hospital for a minor adjustment to one of my hearing aids. After she had dealt with it the technician told me I was due for another hearing test in July, but would not be sent for. It was up to me to "initiate the procedure" and "request a new pathway." (Who on earth dreams up this management speak?")
I would then be advised that I could go to the private sector for this. It is apparently mandatory that his option be pointed out to me.
Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green initiatives are often subject to routine ridicule, but we are expected to take this nonsense in our stride
Clearly this requirement has been imposed on the NHS by some fanatical neoliberal obsessed with the virtues of market choice.
But it is ridiculous. Like demanding that, before selling you a book, Foyles must tell you that you could buy the same volume at Waterstones. Or that before pulling you a pint of Tetley's the barman should remind you that you could get a pint of Sam Smith's at the pub up the road.
And I wonder if the playing field is levelled by requiring the private sector hearing aid specialists to tell their customers that equivalent support is available from the NHS free at the point of use?
Those why deny that further aspects of the NHS are up for privatisation if the Tories remain in government should take note of this straw in the wind.