The Department of Health today announced the launch of the new NHS “Choose a Bug” system, which will allow patients to choose which healthcare acquired infection they will contract whilst being treated by the NHS.
The Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, said, “This government is all about empowering patients and giving them a full range of options at every stage of the patient journey. We are no longer in an age where a doctor would just give the patient whichever infection he thought fit; we want the patients to make informed choices, to select the infection that best suits them.”
Under the new Health and Social Care Bill, which is currently going through parliament, infections will not only be available from GPs and hospitals but from voluntary sector organisations and community-based projects. Red light districts and fast food outlets are likely to be initial providers under the new legislation.
Lansley added, “The new system will mean that the choice of infections will be much greater than the current MRSA, C Diff and necrotising fasciitis mainstream provision. One hospital in Londonderry has already seen high take-up of its innovative Pseudomonas offering and we expect similar successes with Legionella, Streptococcus and Salmonella in the UK.”
GPs were however sceptical and condemned the introduction of yet another bit of useless software. A spokesman for the BMA said that the current system of picking up infections from the wide range available in any waiting room was preferred by the majority of patients.
It was also announced that celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal was to be appointed as infections tsar, after his critically acclaimed introduction of food poisoning onto the Fat Duck menu in 2009.