Shocker! Rural NHS Report Says Rural NHS Should Have More Cash

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One way of reading this report is to insist that sure, rural services aren’t going to be as good as urban ones. On the other hand the air out there is likely to be better, brays are better than boom boxes as a soundtrack, the green and pleasant land has its merits over urban grit. Take the rough with the smooth folks, all of life is a series of trade offs.

That’s not quite how it works of course, so we get this:

Patients who live in the country are getting a raw deal because rural hospitals are under-funded, research suggests. A study by think tank The Nuffield Trust says the way the NHS distributes funding is “unclear, unfair and fails to fully compensate remote and rural areas for the extra costs they face”. As a result, patients in isolated areas are faced to wait longer for treatment, and are far more likely to fall victim to bedblocking, the analysis finds.

Well, if you live 30 minutes fast drive from an emergency room complaining that it takes 30 minutes for the ambulance to get to the emergency room seems a tad de trop. If there’re only 5,000 people in the catchment are then you’re not going to have a heart transplant service at the local ‘ospital are you? It’ll be an ‘ospice for heart failures instead.

Another way to look at this is that there are different versions of equal service from the state. Should we be talking about the rest of us contributing to equal resources for treatment? Thus if it’s more expensive you don’t get it? Or should it be equal outcomes? Do note that we already say the second – if your disease costs more than £30,000 per Qualy then you don’t get the treatment so it is indeed equality of resources devoted that the system runs upon.

Then there’s the gripping hand true argument:

This included difficulties recruiting staff, meaning higher reliance on costly agency staff, the study commissioned by the National Centre for Rural Health and Care found.

It’s the trade union for rural hospitals arguing that rural hospitals should have more money. About as unusual as Hamas being antisemitic.