A while ago I wrote in “Business as Usual” how companies seem to put profits above staff and customers; I am yet again shown how true this seems to be. While I cannot indicate what firm that I work for, for legal reasons, I can say that I work in the health industry and have some care of patients.
Over the last few years I have seen how little care patients seem to actually receive from some of these big private health industries. While I shouldn’t generalise, it would seem that patient care comes second to shareholder dividends in some big private health companies; At least that is the way that it appears in the firm that I work for.
Recently many staff were made redundant by the organisation that I work for. Other staff were forced to pick up the workload that was left behind. Many of these staff are now highly stressed and overworked. Many don’t seem to care any more, morale is very low. The potential here is that patient care could suffer. Whether patient care does or doesn’t suffer is hard to judge, but this could be assumed. If there were some adverse patient outcomes could we presume that this is due to overworked and stressed staff?
What regulation is there to verify that patient care is at its highest level in these big private health companies? While there may be some certification processes that health providers have to go through, these so called certifications can be manipulated to appear as though the companies are complying, while they may in fact not be. If “regulation” can be circumvented, can we therefore satisfactorily say that patient care is acceptable?
We know that patients do die from poor care. We see this in both private and public hospitals, and other ancillary industries, such as laboratories that analyse blood and tissue, chiropractors or physiotherapists for example. If patients do manage to survive, then they can be harmed, crippled or just suffer some pain. At what level is this acceptable?
With Government push to privatise more and more essential services, are we likely to see more patient deaths before adequate health care regulation is implemented? Likely I would say. Policy is only questioned or changes due to adverse patient outcomes.
If private corporations are putting profits ahead of patient care, can we then question whether some services should even be privatised at all?
I might also mention that some components of private hospital, and ancillary care are subsidised by the taxpayer. As this is the case, several questions should therefore be asked. Should any taxpayer money be put towards company profits and shareholder dividends? Should certification standards be more rigorous and more regulated with government playing a greater role? How do we guarantee that patient care is put before profits?
I have some ideas on these questions, but what are your thoughts?