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We Should Pay Medical Personnel For Each Procedure They Perform

It is now generally acknowledged that the structure of the NHS needs to be overhauled to make it more responsive to patient needs, and more efficient. We should apply the lessons learned from Australia’s national healthcare, where medical personnel are paid for the procedures they perform rather than for simply having patients on their books.

Shifting from a system where medical personnel are paid instead for each procedure could bring huge benefits for the NHS and to patients.

Paying medical personnel for each procedure would incentivize them to work more efficiently and see more patients. This would lead to a reduction in waiting times and improved access to care for patients, as doctors would have a financial motivation to perform procedures promptly and effectively.

By directly linking payment to procedures, there could be an increased emphasis on delivering high-quality care. Medical personnel would be incentivized to provide effective treatments and achieve positive patient outcomes since their payment would depend on it. This could lead to improved patient satisfaction and overall quality of care within the NHS.

Paying medical personnel per procedure could help align costs more closely with services rendered. This system would provide greater flexibility in budgeting, allowing the NHS to allocate resources based on the actual volume of procedures performed. It could potentially contribute to better financial sustainability by ensuring that payments are directly tied to the level of activity.

The payment model based on procedures might encourage medical personnel to adopt innovative techniques, technologies, and treatments that can improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. The prospect of financial reward for delivering novel and effective procedures could foster a culture of innovation within the healthcare system.

Despite these potential benefits, there are also challenges that would need to be addressed when transitioning to a procedure-based payment system:

Paying for each procedure could lead to a risk of overutilization, where medical professionals might game the system by performing unnecessary procedures to increase their payment. This could drive up healthcare costs and potentially compromise patient safety. Proper checks and balances, along with robust guidelines and oversight, would be necessary to mitigate this risk.

A procedure-based payment model may inadvertently shift the focus away from preventive care, as medical personnel might prioritize procedures that generate revenue over preventive measures that do not. This could undermine the long-term health of the population and lead to increased healthcare costs in the future. Preventive measures might need to be rewarded independently.

Determining the appropriate payment for each procedure can be complex, as the complexity and resource requirements can vary significantly across different treatments. Developing a fair and standardized payment system that accounts for this variability would be crucial to ensure equitable compensation for medical personnel. In practice this could be achieved by ‘loss adjusters’ who would establish appropriate costings for different procedures, much as is done in auto insurance.

The essential feature of free treatment at point of need would not be compromised, but this one change would streamline the delivery of those treatments and align the interests of medical personnel with the needs of their patients for rapid and efficient treatment.