Matt Hancock, the health minister does rather like his apps, and this one’s a beauty
A new NHS waiting times app will soon see patients choose where they seek urgent treatment. Under the new rules, patients will be able to view live accident and emergency times via a phone app called WaitLess and choose which hospital to travel to. It is hoped that the new feature, which also allows patients to view the time it would take to arrive at their chosen hospital, will help over-strained A&E departments tackling the growing problem of treatment waiting times.
Well, it’s one way to solve the problem, I suppose. If you live in East Northampton, one of the trial areas, you go onto Mr Hancock’s whizzo app and you find that right now, Corby has no queues and even combined with travel time, it’s faster to go and get in a car for 20 miles and go to Corby by 3 hours.
But it isn’t the best way to solve the problem. You don’t get this done in the private sector. There aren’t queues of people outside the Kwik-Fit in Northampton while there’s staff stood around waiting for customers in Corby. Kwik-Fit management would look at numbers of tyres changed in each centre for each Kwik-Fit fitter and say “hang on, we should move some staff from Corby to Northampton”.
Which then begs the question of why the NHS isn’t doing that. Is it really so inefficient that it can’t look at times and allocate rotas of people correctly to get something more like a balanced service? I know there’s always going to be the odd major incident that really throws A&E times at one hospital, but in general, there’s patterns. Nice and quiet on Saturday morning, rammed with drunks who fell over on Saturday night.
This seems a lot simpler and better than lots of people driving around, greener, and fairer for the poor people with less mobility.
Or is it that that wouldn’t give the minister an app to show?