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The Conservatives and the NHS

(51 Posts)
Rivernana Tue 07-Jan-20 10:50:07

There appears to be a strong belief that the present government will push on with plans to privatise the NHS. Some sections of the NHS have already been contracted out although this may not be obvious. There are more and more advertisements from private providers of healthcare on Face Book. My view is that we can all contribute towards strengthening the position of the NHS by doing our bit to reduce waste and save funds and resources. There is never a bottomless pit of funding and we can't afford to sit back, expect others to remedy the situation and then complain if it does not improve. What do you think?
I have been running a petition to reduce waste and save NHS funds and resources and attach the link if anyone wants to have a look. My local CCG and NHS England have agreed to consider my petition but I am not expecting much without more pestering and dialogue.

MerylStreep Tue 07-Jan-20 12:56:07

Pester away to your hearts content. I find the waste in the NHS obscene. I think if we were all aware ( not that we ever will be) of the cost, we would be horrified ?

Having worked for a nationalised industry I'm very aware of people's attitude when it's The taxpayers money.

I'm fully aware that there are many in the NHS who are doing their best ( as I was) to save money but there are still thousands who aren't ?

Oopsminty Tue 07-Jan-20 12:57:56

Totally agree, MerylStreep

And I've worked for the NHS and in the CS

Vast amount of waste in both

growstuff Tue 07-Jan-20 13:56:13

As a rough estimate, how much do you reckon could be saved by re-issuing medications?

suziewoozie Tue 07-Jan-20 14:05:48

There is so much misinformation in the petition, I couldn’t possibly take it seriously. We had a thread on this a while ago and I really can’t be bothered to repeat the information I gave then about the importance of the correct storage of medicines and the professional responsibility of pharmacists when dispensing medicines to guarantee - yes guarantee- that this has happened. Try being a person with diabetes being dispensed insulin that had not been kept at the right temperature in a fridge for starters.

MerylStreep Tue 07-Jan-20 15:27:03

In 2015 the wastage was estimated at £300 million.

suziewoozie Tue 07-Jan-20 15:42:23

It all depends how you calculate wastage - not redispensing medicines that may or may not have been properly stored is not bring wasteful but is about patient safety.

growstuff Tue 07-Jan-20 15:47:40

Thank you MerylStreep. Do you happen to know what kid of wastage that was?

The reason I'm asking is that the NHS's budget is £109 billion, so £300 million is a very small percentage.

I realise "every little helps" but I'm wondering if it really is worth it. Most common drugs actually cost the NHS pence, so the admin costs in logging the returns might very well exceed any savings. Trusts already instruct doctors to use the cheapest alternatives available.

Not only that, but as suziewoozie has pointed out, there's no guarantee how drugs and equipment have been stored between being issued and returned. Should somebody sue the NHS for issuing a drug which hasn't been correctly stored and causes damage or death, the cost would be astronomical.

suziewoozie Tue 07-Jan-20 15:57:57

Honestly growstuff there’s no rational debate to be had about returning and re-dispensing unused drugs. It’s utter codswallop and no health care professional could ever engage in or be party to such risky behaviour. If people really cared about wasted money in the NHS they could look at the cost to the NHS when outsourced services have to be returned to the NHS because the private providers failed in terms of quality provision or walked away because they weren’t making the profits they’d hoped for.

growstuff Tue 07-Jan-20 16:07:29

Err quite! I'd like to see how much the process of "commissioning" costs too.

suziewoozie Tue 07-Jan-20 16:14:05

Exactly - but no let’s get back to why can’t you return your unopened paracetamol.

trisher Tue 07-Jan-20 16:23:46

Sorry can't sign for similar reasons. The petition also mentions mobility aids as far as my local health authority is concerned it already does this with borrowed items. The aids my mum had were collected very promptly. We also did a bit of private recycling by donating her wheelchair to the sheltered housing scheme where she lived for the use of any residents who needed one. Perhaps if her local health authority aren't doing this the proposer could start a collection and redistribution scheme herself.

Rivernana Tue 07-Jan-20 22:52:19

Just to clarify I am not asking for medication that has been out of the Pharmacy for a while to be reused but, for example, my neighbour had someone else"s prescription delivered to her and handed it straight back to the delivery person to return to the Pharmacy, so it had been out for less than an hour but still had to be destroyed. one small tip would also be to check the meds you collect before leaving the Chemist's premises - if anything has been dispensed in error it can be returned to shelf as long as you have not stepped out of the door. I have personally found an item dispensed in error when I opened the paper bag of meds at home. I could go on. With regard to equipment not one person I have spoken to locally who has tried to return mobility equipment has been told about the company contracted to work with the NHS - Medequip - to steam clean and resupply this equipment. For other items that can't be reused by humans - there are local animal rescue charities certainly in my area that will gratefully accept unopened dressings, syringes without the needles, disposable gloves, incontinence pads etc. Finally, even if savings are a fraction of the estimated £300 million lost annually they will still be put to good use. Every little helps. There is so much more I could talk about but if you are really interested a lot of it is in the updates to my petition where I have tried to share information as I have myself found things out. It has been a journey of discovery for me as well.

JenniferEccles Tue 07-Jan-20 22:56:36

So this is today’s petition to sign.

I wonder what tomorrow’s will be?

Rivernana Wed 08-Jan-20 08:06:11

JenniferEccles - I guess you are right. We can all get 'petition fatigue'! My intentions are sincere however.

Hetty58 Wed 08-Jan-20 08:59:33

Half of all prescribed medicine is not taken or used. It ends up sitting in kitchen drawers or medicine cabinets.

The public should be honest and just tell GPs that they're not going to take it so don't write that prescription!

Hetty58 Wed 08-Jan-20 09:33:03

We've got a stupid system where people feel ill and see the doctor - expecting treatment, tests or medicine.

Doctors have ten minutes to do something and are under pressure to prescribe (to meet those expectations).

The patient soon feels better (probably would have done anyway) so concludes that the medicine 'worked'.

(or) the medicine has nasty side effects (or we feel better) so we stop taking it.

What a nice little earner for those drug companies!

suziewoozie Wed 08-Jan-20 09:37:42

Hetty can you give a link to that information please? I’ve had google but can’t find anything that specific. Non adherence ( which can take many forms ) is obviously an issue and knowing its rate and type should inform measures necessary to try to address it. However this involves resources of course - my practice has its own in-house pharmacist who we can mske an appointment very easily with to discuss any issues we have around our medication. I can see that that role could be expanded to target those who might be less adherent.

suziewoozie Wed 08-Jan-20 09:38:26

Cross posts - will read the link

suziewoozie Wed 08-Jan-20 09:44:51

I’ve read the link - it’s really about doctors ordering unnecessary tests or prescribing treatments/ drugs that do not have an evidence base. It’s a complex issue isn’t it ? It’s a doctors professional responsibility to treat and prescribe according to best practice guidelines. It’s a patients responsibility to adhere to treatment regimes and discuss with their doctor if this is causing a problem.

growstuff Wed 08-Jan-20 10:03:55

That article was written in 2016. I know that over the last year or so, my CCG has stopped prescribing certain medications and the guidelines for certain tests and procedures have changed.

I note that the article mentioned statins. As people probably know, their prescription is quite controversial, but the current NHS guidelines are that they are safe and should be prescribed. Various scare stories mean that people possibly don't take them.

I don't see anything in the article which justifies the claim of £2 billion being "wasted".

Rivernana Wed 08-Jan-20 10:32:28

I think we have veered off the original topic a bit but if it leads to a good discussion and sharing of views and information I guess that's fine!

suziewoozie Wed 08-Jan-20 10:39:16

Yes River I think the issue of prescribing and adherence is really interesting ( sad I know ?). But not from a cost savings point of view - although that might result- but from people benefiting from the best care possible which may mean no medication at all in some cases

Callistemon Wed 08-Jan-20 13:42:16

I think procurement is a big issue; some drugs and equipment cost the NHS far more than other organisations have to pay. Even over the counter medicines can be bought more cheaply than that charged by the drugs companies to the NHS.

Such a large organisation should be able to negotiate a reasonable price and not pay over the odds for drugs or equipment.

Oopsminty Wed 08-Jan-20 13:48:48

Such a large organisation should be able to negotiate a reasonable price and not pay over the odds for drugs or equipment.

You can say that again, Callistemon

Just one example for a thyroid treatment

Drug firm Concordia overcharged NHS with 6,000% price rise, says watchdog