Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Health of Britain, Part VII

From the Telegraph (U.K.):
Ambulance service gets £38 for every patient they don't take to hospital

The Ambulance service is being paid bonuses for not taking patients to hospital in a bid to help the NHS hit controversial targets.

Patients' groups expressed horror at the "sick experiment" in which NHS managers have agreed to pay £38 for every casualty that ambulance staff "keep out of Accident and Emergency" (A&E) departments after a 999 call has been made.

The tactic is part of an attempt to manage increasing demand for emergency care amid failings in the GP out-of-hours system.

Documents seen by The Sunday Telegraph disclose that staff at Britain's largest ambulance service have been encouraged to maximise the organisation's income, by securing payments for diverting patients to telephone helplines.

The bonuses are among dozens of schemes being tried out by ambulance trusts across the country as they attempt to improve their emergency response times and help A&E departments meet controversial targets to treat all patients within four hours of arrival. . .

The Sunday Telegraph has discovered that dozens of Primary Care Trusts in London are now paying the capital's ambulance service a £38 bonus for each patient crews do not send to hospital.

While the maximum amount of money the ambulance service can make from the scheme is "capped," board papers suggest increasing the number of patients diverted from hospital by 20 per cent a year "in order to reach the maximum level of funding available".

In the current financial year, London Ambulance Service has made £850,000 through the scheme.
(via Right Wing News)

No comments: