“Reductionist barbarians have no place in the NHS”, writes Dr Mike Dixon, chairman of the NHS Alliance, in a letter to The Guardian (02/12/02).
He said that personal care is sacrificed in the new consultants’ contract to a philosophy of measuring everything. He explained that the contract “appears” to be focussed on the strictly measurable (for example, blood pressure and cholesterol) and those areas of general practice where a cause has a definable effect (for example, prevention of a heart attack).
He said that the NHS is in danger of formulating a contract that suits managers and those GPs who subscribe to a reductionist and technocratic model of healthcare. The average GP consultation is far more complex than a mechanistic process of chronic disease management, he said.
“There is clear evidence that patients want doctors who will listen and who they can talk to – yet the new contract ignores this. Personal care and the relationship between doctor and patient are the most important things that we do. We need a contract that properly reflects this,” he said.
Health minister Malcolm Chisholm is under pressure to find millions of pounds to extend the country’s free care scheme for pensioners to younger disabled Scots, writes Helen Puttick in The Herald (03/12/02). Campaigners accused the Scottish Executive of ignoring the Sutherland report, which led to the launch of free personal care for the elderly in July of this year but also looked in detail at the disability issue.
She says people under the age of 65 with long-term health problems had been left footing bills for help with basics like getting washed and dressed, while pensioners were no longer charged. She adds that the Scottish Executive promised to review the burdens shouldered by disabled adults and children and their families almost a year ago, but nothing has been done.
An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 disabled people in Scotland are paying for services, like help getting out of bed, which are now free for over-65s who need this level of care.