The world of NHS administration ... sorry, corporate management, the one inhabited by bean counters and box tickers where the ability to ignore the public and get away with it feeds directly into the bottom line, is here to stay, or so Harmoni would have
They have tried avoiding the public in the past when they decided to hold a meeting about the future of the Newmarket “out-of-hours” arrangements in Worlington.
Their latest trick is to announce a public meeting but not to provide sufficient staff, senior enough to answer our questions.
Not surprising that this laissez-faire attitude pervades the whole of the service when it takes over five hours to provide a visiting doctor, when they promise one in two to four hours.
The meeting took place on Thursday afternoon of January 31. If you missed it then you did not miss very much. The presentation was pathetic with a paucity of information.
Four tables with display boards giving details of how not to contact Harmoni, just dial 111 to access NHS direct; how to get a dentist in an emergency.
There was some information on the number of complaints received, 38, which is of
the order of a 600 per cent increase in dissatisfaction since the days when your GP used to provide the service directly.
When I arrived there were two doctors and one manager engaging the public and so I took-in the static display while I waited. When one of the doctors became free I asked her whether she could tell me how much the out-of-hours contract was worth
Her answer was that she did not know, she was the “top doctor” she said but did not have any idea how much the NHS paid Harmoni. She then walked away.
So having failed woefully to engage with me, perhaps in the interest of public accountability they would answer the following questions:
1. How much is the out-of-hours contract worth?
2. How many doctors are deployed to maintain the service and how much are they paid?
3. Are there any plans to close the Mildenhall base?
4. Where in the contract does it give you the authority to close bases?
5. What are your service level requirements?
Until we have the answers to these basic questions and more, Harmoni cannot in all honesty tick the box of adequate public consultation; the question for the CCG has to be why are we paying them at all or have we set the bar too low? Either way it ain’t working.
B. J. Salter