Dispatches From the Front Lines of Socialized Medicine

Wait, this doesn’t belong here!

The first NHS trust to be run entirely by a private firm has one of the highest levels of patient satisfaction in the country.

Hinchingbrooke, a hospital in Cambridgeshire with 160,000 patients, was on the verge of going bust when it was taken over by Circle last year.

But NHS figures show it is now ranked as one of the highest for patient happiness and waiting times.

The company running the trust has slashed losses at the hospital by 60 per cent and will soon begin to pay off burgeoning debts built up over years of mismanagement. The takeover deal, which saved the hospital from closing down, is seen as a blueprint for the future of many NHS trusts.

Experts say the system in place at Hinchingbrooke, which empowers doctors and nurses, could be used in dozens of other struggling NHS trusts.

Jim O’Connell, chief executive of the hospital, said: ‘We put more of the decision-making in the hands of the doctors and nurses.

He added: ‘There are still a lot of inefficiencies in the NHS because it is the bureaucracy that has built up over all these years, and we have to change that.

Good thing we don’t have all that bureaucracy and upper-level decision-making here in the good ol’ USA! No siree! Four thousand pages of Congressional legalese, plus countless reams of subsequent regulations and interpretations (“as the Secretary shall determine”), guarantee efficiency and quality of care. You the man, President Obama!

Now, where were we?

The NHS spent £15million in three years on gagging whistleblowers, the Mail can reveal today.

The shocking figures pile the pressure on NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson, who has clung to his £270,000 role despite presiding over the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal that cost the lives of 1,200 patients.

In just three years there were 598 ‘special severance payments’, almost all of which carried draconian confidentiality clauses aimed at silencing whistleblowers.

They cost the taxpayer £14.7million, the equivalent of almost 750 nurses’ salaries.

Yet only last week, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned the NHS against silencing internal dissent.

He said for too long there had been a culture of celebrating success in the NHS, but ‘not being honest about failure’. He added: ‘We must have a culture where people are not afraid to speak out.’

So, these stories that we dig up from the British press are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. With the HMS NHS going down for the count, the HMS Private Sector steaming to the rescue is its only hope.

Good to know.

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