We’re entirely open to the idea that patients should see their general practitioners by Skype. Also that others shouldn’t, that a telephone call might work, that mobiles be used to send text messages reminding of an appointment and so on. Sure, technology changes and the methods we use to achieve certain goals should righteously move with such times. However, this headline tells us what is in fact wrong with the National Health Service:
Theresa May wants digital consultations to become NHS norm in order to give patients greater control
Bully for Theresa really.
The argument made about the NHS is that health care is really important therefore it should be under political control. The Prime Minister of the day is and should be judged on how that NHS is doing. Which is exactly our argument against this system. Or perhaps this specific argument against this system.
A geography graduate, many levels up and removed from the front line of the actual work, is not the correct person to be deciding upon how individuals see their doctors. Central planning isn’t the right way as a concept. What we need is a suck it and see system. Maybe this new technology will indeed be advantageous in application. Maybe it won’t be. Until someone starts to do it we’ll not know - there being too may potentially confounding factors for us to be able to tell without that real world experience.
This is exactly what market processes do for us, sort through that technological envelope of what can and could be done in order to find those solutions which are advantageous. The most important part being to enable us to reject those which aren’t.
That the PM announces how GPs should interact with their patients is exactly the problem with that NHS system. You know, that NHS which ranks near last among rich world health care systems in treating “mortality amenable to health care”. Or, as we might colloquially put it, curing people?