How many surveys do you think the Department of Health has conducted on the topic of patient choice? Three? Half a dozen? The answer is over a dozen. Fifteen to be precise. How many patients do you think they questioned for their latest survey? A hundred? Five hundred? Five thousand maybe? The answer is 93,000? How much do you think this cost? £50,000? £100,000? £200,000 maybe? The answer is that only the Department of Health knows. If you use the Freedom of Information Act to find out they will tell you that this information is not available because it's to do with commercial contracts. Dr Grumble would say that this is his taxpayers' money so he should be allowed to know.
Why is the Department of Health so obsessed with choice that it has to carry out fifteen surveys of tens of thousands of people on the topic? Is there something wrong with the amount of choice our patients are getting? Let's look at the bottom line from this survey:
- 67 percent of patients were able to go to the hospital they wanted, with a further 23 percent having no preference (pdf).
It is not worth spending any more of Grumble's money on this issue. It really isn't. Unless, of course, you have another agenda.