Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Bonus Scheme for Doctors a Basically Flawed Concept

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Bonus Scheme for Doctors a Basically Flawed Concept

Article excerpt

POMS will pay their NHS surgeons bonuses based on the number of lives they save, according to a recent report.

Mortality, infection and cost-effectiveness data will be used to reward the best-performing doctors.

Apparently they are trying out a scheme where bonuses will be paid to hospitals with the lowest death rates and lowest number of complications for five common operations.

How much more bureaucratic-crazy can they get?

It's an insult to the vast majority of doctors who perform with amazing skill, curing or improving the lot of patients no matter how dire or routine the condition being treated.

Presumably, clever bureaucrats and academics are developing KPIs that measure success or failure in every conceivable circumstance. Their models, I assume, will weight "success" in prolonging the life of a gravely ill patient against the successful removal of tonsils.

Will somebody who plays again for his country, after knee reconstruction, signal a bigger bonus than the poor bugger who just limps less after a well-assisted recovery from a road accident?

Will old Poms have to wait until they are fit enough to convince their surgeons that they have a better than average chance of surviving the knife, before they get a turn in the theatre?

I was visiting my own excellent GP a few weeks ago.

It was a routine matter attracting very low success bonus for him not killing me. He was busy; it was a sunny day after two days of rain.

His thesis was that nobody feels ill enough to trek to a doctor when it's wet. Nice warm sun makes everyone feel well enough to consult him. I conclude that the number of accurate diagnoses, with their bonus potential, is meteorologically sensitive.

I'm dead against the whole idea, so to speak.

You'd need to be a brain-dead bureaucrat or a comedian to believe it's a good idea to pay bonuses to doctors who exhibit the appropriate levels of professional competence. …

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