The Bean-counters Strike Again…

I’ve learned that the Community Nurse service is being subjected to severe budgetary cutbacks, and at a time when not only are costs escalating, but so are patient numbers. Not that this ever bothers the bean-counters because they don’t have to live with the consequences of their own cuts – they just impose them on others and walk away.

That’s the reason I’ve only occasionally had the dressings I need – they’ve mostly been a compromise. Last year, for example, my dressings cost £45 a day, and they were changed every day. My GP refused to pay! I wound up as the guinea-pig for a different brand – not as good, but acceptable and very much cheaper – which were subsequently rolled out across the area.

The thing is, I buy some of my own drugs, and I pay very much less for some of them than the NHS charges internally. So if I can do that without the leverage that bulk purchasing gives the NHS, it follows that there is ample scope for the NHS to cut costs without penalising the patients. So why aren’t they?

Why is it the only answer for over-spending is to target the end users, the nurses, doctors and, especially, the patients? The bean-counters very rarely – and I speak from experience – target the buyers, who are in a position to make a real difference. I can’t tell you exactly how I know this, other than that, in a previous life I was a buyer, as I’m still bound by the Official Secrets Act and, given this government’s penchant for locking up those who speak out, I’m going to have to ask you to take it on trust.

I can give you one NHS example, though, which is in the public domain, and that’s their published price for Hydrocortisone tablets, as published in the British National Formulary. And that is £1.48 per 10mg tablet. And what do I pay? Well, you might want to sit down for this – I pay £0.236 per 10mg.

And that’s just me, walking in, as it were, off the street, not with the purchasing power of an entire government department behind me.

And if I can do that, there is no reason why the NHS buyers can’t do as well, or better.

And there is absolutely no excuse for not doing so.

7 thoughts on “The Bean-counters Strike Again…

  1. Pockets are clearly being lined somewhere. Shameful. Thanks for the informative post, Ron. Hope you’re doing OK. I miss your posts if I haven’t seen you around for a little while. Best wishes.

    • Thanks – you too.

      If I’m not on my blog (I’m so preoccupied at present it’s hard to write, and the fact that criticising politicians here can land you in jail these days doesn’t help), I’m usually on Twitter (@rantsfromron). It’s mainly due to friends on Twitter that I’m still here.

  2. Here’s a thought. In Canada the government doesn’t even negotiate – they dictate the price they are willing to pay for drugs.

    Edd, whoever benefits, this price-fixing happens at government level, way further up the food chain than GPs. GPs actually suffer because of it, as it eats into their drugs budget. My Hydrocortisone alone puts a £1700 p.a. dent in that at NHS prices.

  3. i need to keep a well stocked first aid drawer/box, call it what you like. because i also frequently tend to knock myself, or the dog catches me etc and it results in a 3 cornered tear to my very thin skin. so i keep a few different types and sizes of Elastoplast, steri-strips, rolls of non allergic strapping. Mepore, Inodine gauze,and i also have some Kaltostat for the odd times it wont stop bleeding. i bruise easily and bleed easily… Mepore, as in most things have now got very expensive. so i started asking one of my GPs for some and some Inodine gauze. i got a full box of Inodine.(which will last ages as i only cut off the size needed to cover the wound). plus 5 Mepore first time. but last time i asked for Mepore i got 1.small i bought myself a box.less hassle and at least i know i’ve got them.need to invest in some Vaseline gauze for the kit… as a burns unit nurse ** years ago.. we used that a lot. its brilliant stuff for healing. i seem to go through periods where im always catching my arms (or the dog is when he tries to get my attention by pawing my arm) so need a good amount of the dressings then then ill go months with none or just the odd one occasionally. it will be big pharma profiting from the high prices. and as they will be mates of some of the government ministers it’ll be you scratch my back ill scratch yours.i bet.

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