There was further criticism of the NHS last night when a study revealed that more than a third of the British Paralympic team had had their various medical conditions treated in private clinics; such establishments treat only 7% of the country’s medical cases. The study by the Wallington Trust goes on to state that the lack of NHS patients in Paralympic Team GB is particularly evident in wheelchair events because NHS wheelchairs are so heavy, slow and cumbersome compared to their private counterparts.
Sir Paul Light, chairman of the Wallington Trust, said: "This research shows that private patients are more than five times over-represented amongst our Paralympians relative to their proportion in the hospital population. This comes as no surprise as patients in independent hospitals benefit from ample time set aside for care, excellent medical facilities and highly qualified medical staff, while in many state hospitals, care is not a priority."
The government has been under fire for its NHS reforms which proposed to scrap a target for NHS hospital in-patients to receive at least two hours of proper medical care per week’s stay. This, together with the Wallington Trust report, has prompted new Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to outline a new draft NHS reform proposal. It is understood that it will become compulsory for long term patients to receive a minimum of two hours per week of what the government describes as 'a recognised and recognisable lack of neglect.'
“Many of our Paralympians would not have achieved their outstanding results if they had been left in NHS hospital corridors, or been made to wait six months for an X-ray,” said Mr Hunt. “My top priority though is to reduce the number of C.Difficile and MRSA infections, and I already have lots of experience of dealing with bugs.”
(Does this cross the line? Should I have run it past dvo first?)