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Constantly repeated statements that the NHS will be treating
more patients more quickly cannot pass unchallenged. The implications are
obvious. more patients seen by the same number of doctors means more
overwork, more complaints and more mistakes, or less time for each
patient with more complaints and more mistakes. It is not hard to see why
the NHS faces a bill of £2.8billion already (1) At the risk of an overused
cliche, one "cannot get a quart out of a pint pot."
The government's aspiration to spend as much as the average (presumably
western?) European average by 2005 must be translated into increasing the
number of doctors to the European average and reducing the average age of
hospitals and other capital stock to the mean of their useful life, at the
same time taking on board the changing age profile (2)
The government has a problem! It will require the near doubling of the
number of doctors in the UK and the fastest building program in history -
statements which cannot be repeated too often.