Run the NHS like Dixons or PC World? It could happen...

 

People were taken aback when Sir Bruce Keogh, the Medical Director of the NHS, told this paper that the whole health service should emulate the economic philosophy of “PC World or Dixons”, in improving the quality of what it offers the British public while charging less for it.

Taken aback because: a) Dixons hasn’t been around for seven years; and b) has Sir Bruce been to a PC World lately? Britain’s top medic probably didn’t mean that the NHS should actually be run as if it were an electronics showroom; but, after all the talk about privatisation, it’s easy to imagine how it could become precisely that in, say, five years…

29 July 2018

Dear Sir Bruce,

When you kindly nominated me as project manager of the “Health 4 All” NHS megastore back in 2013, I had no idea of the scale of the task. I imagined it would be like a jolly big Superdrug. I thought: Boots the Chemist crossed with Westfield. I hadn’t realised that there would be (well, yeah – it’s obvious now…) people involved. So the main problem has been finding warehouse space for the Bedridden.

God, there are MILLIONS of them, in a huge variety of hideous beds, wherein they groan all day long and complain about the lack of Wi-fi connection. Mr Muldoon and his team of assistants at Kensington were rushed off their feet dealing with their (often quite gross) enquiries, until we realised that’s what the girls in the Nursing Department are actually for. Ditto the 8,000 GPs in the massive  first-floor consulting room, who stand around for hours in their tweed jackets and sympathetic smiles, asking each other: “And how are the waterworks?”

The layout has given us a few headaches. Obstetrics should be a warm, peaceful department at the rear of the building. But it’s been plonked beside the A&E Dept; so the first thing a nursing mother sees in the corridor at 7am is an inebriated thug with a knife in his cranium yelling at a furtive pervert with a Hoover attachment up his botty. Nice. Putting the Heart/ Lung Transplant Dept so near the Canteen wasn’t a brilliant idea either, for reasons I won’t spell out (think Fridge).

We’re not quite there with the signage in the Amputations and Prosthetics Dept. I cannot fathom the stupidity of whoever plumped for, “It won’t cost an arm and a leg!” And “Don’t wait too long to get it done – chop chop!” As for the  three-for-two offer on replacing amputated toes, words fail me.

Queues at the checkouts are still a problem. There’s always a terrible scrum when we offer 50 per cent off plastic surgery items: buttock lifts, chin dimples, penis enlargements. Less of a scrum when it’s iron lungs, respirators and life-support machines. Some people don’t know a bargain when they see it.

We expected a few teething troubles, Sir Bruce, and we’ve got a mouthful of shark fangs. Are you sure this was a good idea?

Yours, Duncan Carpet,  NHS Press Office and Brand Co-ordinator.

Suggested Topics
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

    £20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

    Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

    £24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

    Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

    Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

    Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

    Day In a Page

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all