08 Sep Private Surgery v NHS Surgery
Spent the afternoon out of Openhealth Clinic recently, visiting an operating theatre. I observed a series of Private procedures, where the patient list ran like clockwork.
Each patient was given their anaesthetic, prepared, operated on and returned to the recovery room with a military type precision. The whole experience was efficiency personified. I couldn’t help congratulating both the Surgeon and his team on their efforts. It was therefore very disappointing to hear from the Surgeon that it bore no relationship to operations performed under the NHS. He explained the pace and overall organisation is much, much slower. He maintained that right from the Porters to the theatre staff and Surgeons, there is little or no encouragement to be quick. Don’t get me wrong, “safe and effective” are far more important than “quick” but it is accepted that the human body works at its best when it is under a degree of stress!
It strikes me, a laid back scenario where say a knee operation starts at 10.30 even though it was scheduled for 8.00 (although it doesn’t really matter as there are only four procedures for the entire day!!), is not only inefficient but could easily lead to mistakes. This particular Surgeon suggested incentivising the entire team from Porter to Surgeon. His example was “standard” pay for say the four procedures, a little extra for five and a little more for six. Result, reduced waiting times for patients and better use of valuable operating theatre time. Would appear to be a win win!!