So previously I mentioned that I don’t think the Tory’s reforms of the NHS will work, and there was a bit of discussion (well, me waffling, really) about alternative models. Today via the Guardian I discovered this gem of a website, in which the Treasury has put up a list of suggestions that British people submitted for ways to save money. They then get rated and the Treasury will (apparently) seriously consider some of them. So of course, since it’s about spending and costs, the NHS has a whole section of its own. This includes terribly exciting suggestions for cost-cutting like “rationalise journal purchasing across NHS Trusts[1]” (someone must have thought this process was serious!)

Of course, one of the most endearing traits about the British is that they can take the piss out of anything, with a depth of cynicism and wit that I think is unmatched in the world[2], and indeed they’ve managed to do so with this. Here are some alternative suggestions:

  • The NHS should prescribe monocles: and patients can pay the extra for two lenses out of their own pocket. Sadly this won’t work because “top-ups” are banned in the NHS.
  • Stop selling alcohol for one week: I think this has been tried before and wasn’t quite a cost-cutting success, but the person submitting it (“bigoted_oaf”) has an amusing dig at “moderate drinkers” and an excellent implementation strategy: “Go into Tesco with a golf club and set about their cut-price displays. Let everyone else know politely that it’s not allowed.”
  • Tax cigarettes: and restrict where they can be sold. Anyone think this might have been tried somewhere before? Maybe we could raise money by taxing people’s incomes, too?
  • More alternative therapies: because they’re cheaper. Whatever would Prince Charles say?
  • Get stoned: apparently natural hemp oil kills cancer. You heard it here first!

In amongst these reform suggestions were the serious ones, which seem to mainly consist of:

  • charging a nominal fee for doctor’s appointments, A&E appointments, or prescription drugs
  • charging people for non-attendance at appointments
  • some arcane stuff about end-of year budget rollovers
  • blaming foreigners

There were also a few sad comments by people using the site to lodge complains about the poor treatment they received in the NHS.

Oh, and someone wanted to bring back Matron!!!

fn1: For some reason in the UK a Hospital or small collection of Hospitals is referred to as a “Trust,” even though when you visit, all they do is give you a paracetamol and send you home

fn2: Though I get the impression that the Polish and maybe Iranians give them a run for their money