Better, Faster, Cheaper
All the comments on the healthcare costs and subsidies reminded me of this documentary I saw a while ago on how the (then) new NASA chief promised 'Better, Faster, Cheaper' space missions. But then they found out that you can't have all three.
To a very large extent this is also true of a healthcare system, which when it comes to the subsidised healthcare system consists of three parties: the patients, the doctors, and the Health Ministry.
Patients expect the best healthcare delivered timely and with good service, but baulk at the cost, or else at the waiting times if they go the subsidised route.
Doctors want less work, more pay (yes, admit it!), and higher standards for themselves (in terms of the job satisfaction, quality of delivered care, upgrading of skills and knowledge, and living up to the ethical code), but find it hard to achieve all three when in the system.
The Ministry must strike a balance between three components: patient/voter satisfaction, health of the nation (as it affects productivity), and budget.
At least the Ministry seems to have decided what it wants its priorities to be.
(If you look at the priority list, you realise that the Ministry is concerned with costs and wants to 'spend within our means'. Patient expectations are expected to be 'moderated'. There is nothing there that says they should be seen fast or about service with a smile. :) )
At the end of the day, you have three parties, each with its own priorities and agenda, competing for limited resources. It seems that one party's gain must come at another's loss.
Is that a bad thing?
It may surprise you that angry doc doesn't think so. All three parties are stake-holders and are accountable to each other. All three parties should argue for their position and negotiate for the best terms. A system dominated by only one of the parties will mean the others lose their voice.
My hope is that we as a society can argue and argue with the understanding that it's about us sharing limited resources within the same system, and hopefully we all come to a status that is sustainable and satisfactory to all three parties involve.
My rantings on this blog is sometimes just me arguing for what I think doctors' position should be. I am not advocating that my view should be the only one. In fact, I think it will be a dark day for mankind if it was...
So do continue to post your comments when you feel like; hopefully together we will make a difference.
Added: Dr Oz Bloke's comment reminded me that there is another arm in the subsidised healthcare system: the Primary Care Partnership Scheme.