A brief post because I'm in the throes of stoning around 65lbs of plums.
An adviser to the Scottish Parliament has suggested charging patients a 'hotel' rate at hospitals to boost the NHS budget.
The proposal, along the lines of the Swedish system, would net about £300 million for the Scottish health budget according to a briefing paper for Holyrood's Finance Committee by Professor David Bell. Is this the same chap who, earlier in the week, suggested we pay £20 to visit the doctor?
If the NHS has to save money, get rid of all these numerous 'national projects' (quangos) and their duplicated administrations and return to charging for prescriptions but with a modernised system so as those who are unable to pay aren't disadvantaged. We can't afford to give free prescriptions for all.
So Professor Bell thinks we should pay for being inpatients in hospitals? I would never pay to stay in either of my local hospitals. Their record of hospital acquired infections has been poor and I'm not impressed by the competence of some staff since my visit a couple of years ago for a small procedure. Staff allowed me home without checking with the theatre if the procedure had been undertaken (which it had not) and insisted I take a course of antibiotics which was, until recently, the norm for all patients who had received invasive surgery. It was a combination of lack of cleanliness and staff who were incompetent that led to me contracting clostridium difficile. For the rest of my live I will live with the consequences of that hellish infection.
Therefore I will not be volunteering to visit any hospital and pay for the privilege, but I do think Professor Bell's suggestion will come to pass. Perhaps not in this decade but it will. How else is the Scottish NHS going to find the money to pay for all these information sites available online.
Be warned. Taking your own hygiene products and items such as towels when it's necessary to stay in hospital won't protect you completely.