That’s not a rhetorical question, because your life, and health, will soon have a cash value to your GP – and it does not favour your long-term survival if your are chronically sick.
It appears that our GPs. already well paid (average GP pay £105,300, according to the Guardian), are to be paid bonuses to keep patients out of hospital.
The Nuffield Trust says of the idea that patients may perceive this as money that should be spent on health care, rather than going to line GPs pockets, to the detriment of their patients.
May perceive? How could it possibly be viewed in any other way? It’s simple bribery – abandon your principles and we’ll pay you for it.
I would have no objection (well, I would, but maybe that’s just me), to doctors getting bonuses for maximising patient care (as opposed to payments, as now, for utterly pointless annual spirometry and BP checks, for example), but, and call me Mr. Picky, isn’t that actually what they’re paid to do anyway?
I’ve visited this theme previously, when it was announced that unplanned (i.e., emergency), hospital admissions were to be cut by 20%. Now, instead of the GPs being up in arms over that, they are going to be paid to ensure it happens and, as I said last time, this is a programme for needless suffering and death – a purging of those of us who are expensively sick.
I see no reason to change that view.
I’ve had very little to do with hospitals, as an in-patient, but that’s mainly because, sick and disabled though I have been all my life, I’ve stayed extremely fit and active (within limits, obviously), with the result that, until relatively recently, my COPD has been less severe than it would otherwise have been.
But that’s changing rapidly, and if I need to be admitted to hospital then that’s what I need. What I most certainly do not need is some goddamned GP, with one eye on his bank balance, deciding whether he can afford for me to live a bit longer, or would he rather have a new car instead!
Because as sure as god made little green apples, that WILL happen. Maybe not to me, but to somebody.
And isn’t this whole idea simply, and obscenely, wrong? Is this government so morally bankrupt that it is willing to pay GPs a bonus to assist in actively shortening a patients’ lives? Because that’s what it comes down to.
A more important question, I think, is just how many GPs are so morally bankrupt that they’ll go along with this?
People, on the whole, are not admitted to hospital frivolously, they are admitted because that’s where they need to be, so that they might receive the proper level of care. Bribing GPs to keep them at home won’t change that need one iota – it will simply put patients’ health – and lives – at risk.
The Nuffield Trust believes that this scheme is liable to be greeted antagonistically by patients – which is probably an understatement. Somebody whose aged parent, or young child, dies as a direct result of this scheme may well feel justified in taking a baseball bat to the GP concerned.
And I, for one, would find it impossible to condemn them.
Any GP who would put money before the lives of his or her patients would be a disgrace to the profession.