Economies of scale in the health service

The researchers said one possible solution is to reorganise stroke services into fewer larger hospitals which are more able to offer high quality care seven days a week.

Services in London were altered in this way in February 2010 and early results show that it has been successful, although mortality data is not yet available.

Suspected stroke patients in the capital are now taken by ambulance past their nearest hospital to a dedicated stroke unit which operates scanners seven days a week and has specialists on duty round the clock.

The idea of local care for local people doesn\’t seem to survive close examination…..

6 thoughts on “Economies of scale in the health service”

  1. My wife had a scan recently: on a Saturday. A minor advantage: you can actually park at the ruddy hospital on a Saturday.

  2. Probably works after a fashion in London but strokes need such rapid treatment you’d be much worse off if your nearest specialist unit is 70 miles away.

    @dearieme, MR scanners at least (not so much CT) are so expensive that they’re run for as many hours as possible. At least, as you can only have them in integers, rather than buying another one it makes sense to spend more on overtime and shift working than to buy a second scanner for 9-to-5 weekday appointments. Plus there’s in most places 24 hour radiographer cover for emergencies so might as well have those people doing something rather than sitting around.

  3. I mentioned something about this in a comment a few weeks ago.

    There are some big health trust mergers in the pipleine – especially London. The competition authorities are having kittens but one of the key arguments being made is that the mergers will allow much greater specialisation e.g. one London hospital will do pretty much all heart stuff, another cancer etc.Apparently the data on improvements in outcome from specilalisation is very compelling.

  4. Dr Eoin Clarke will still complain that hospital mergers mean the Tories are putting profit before lives.

  5. JamesV, it was an MRI scan, done in a specialist building remote from radiography. Those big magnets, presumably, may be part of the reason.

  6. My dog needed a scan (not sure which, but obviously not a CAT scan) and they took him up the local hospital after hours and stuck him in the people scanner.

    Will this 24-7 scanning mean dogs become second-class citizens?

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