For years observers have noted the phenomenon of public school teachers sending their kids to private schools–especially in cities with the worst and deadliest public facilities. Teachers at government schools might not be able to teach their own kids, but they can send them to safer, better private alternatives. So it appears to be with health care in Great Britain.
The money was used to bring in physiotherapists to help workers recover from muscular-skeletal injuries at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.
Bosses said it prevented them from leapfrogging NHS patients and enabled them to return to work more quickly.
However, the private treatment, which amounted to £12,116 for 271 appointments over the past year, was described by critics as “shocking”.
Mark Wallace of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “Their staff should have to wait like everybody else.
“Perhaps if they experienced it as their customers – that is the taxpayer – experienced it, they might be a little keener to improve their waiting times.”
Frances Jackson, a patient who receives physiotherapy treatment from the hospital, said: “It’s great that staff are being catered for because there is a need for it – they do get work-related injuries which can lead to osteoarthritis.
“But what about everybody else? There’s an amazing amount of people who can’t afford private physiotherapy.
“They need to appoint more physiotherapists and bring the waiting lists down.”
Jan Bloomfield, executive director of workforce and communications at the hospital, said: “In line with national best practice, and with policies adopted by other major employers, we offer a physiotherapy service to help staff with specific work-related problems.
“Staff must meet very precise criteria to receive the service, which offers good value for money as it helps them get back to work quickly so they can continue to provide high quality care to our patients, avoiding the need to draft in expensive locum care.”
She added: “Funding for the service is generated by our occupational health team, who go into businesses to advise on health and safety, and is not taken from budgets set aside for patient care.
“We are currently looking at whether it would be cost-effective to extend the service to offer different types of rehabilitation to staff.”
You’ve got to love it. The NHS has to provide high-quality private care to its own employees to ensure that they can provide high quality care to their patients–high quality care which they apparently are unable to provide to each other! Example number 577 of self-serving government bureaucracy at work!