5 + 47 + 3 + 17 = 8? Not in the world I work in

How to cut through the Kafkaesque Government smoke and mirrors to get at what is wrong with their flagship policy to improve the NHS by giving patients the ability to choose their GP practice, anywhere in England? This was to have come into effect in October 2014 and is now due to start on 5 January next.

5 + 47 + 3 + 17 = 8: this is one way of getting to the heart of the problem. The politicians, health ministers, the Department of Health, & NHS England will tell you that 5 + 3 = 8. This is true enough. The only problem is that the numbers that need to be added up are 5 + 47 + 3 + 17; in the material world I work in these numbers do not add up to 8.

When I have pointed out to the Department of Health that they have got their sums wrong, they in essence reply by saying 5 + 3 = 8. NHS England have done the same.

Others also behave as if they are unable to do basic arithmetic: the King’s Fund, the Patients Association, health editors at the mainstream news outlets, the BBC, even the Health Services Journal.

In the world I work in you really have to respect the numbers. Ignore the numbers and the building falls over.

Watch this space.

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