Founder: Julie Meyer

Julie Meyer: Meet an entrepreneur who wants to make the NHS great

22/07/2008 
London City news: Julie Meyer: Meet an entrepreneur who wants to make the NHS great

EVERYBODY deserves great healthcare. The question is: how should
this be achieved? The founders of the NHS felt that the government must
deliver the healthcare in order to secure that basic human right; not
all nations agree.

In Britain, despite the government’s best
intentions, a terrible wall separates those who can afford good care
privately with those who are treated by the NHS only.

There are
pockets of outstanding care in the NHS, but daily we are faced with
stories of bugs picked up in the hospital, the wrong patients being
given abortion pills, and surgeons now being incentivised financially
for having more of their patients survive – hardly reassuring.

MEDICAL ADVICE

Not
surprisingly, an entrepreneur has come to the rescue of the rest of us
who want great care. Dr Neil Bacon founded iWantGreatCare.org, having
previously had an 18 year career as a kidney doctor.

Bacon
revolutionised the UK medical community in 1998 when he founded
Doctors.net.uk, leading it to become one of the world’s largest
doctors’ networks, providing communications, collaboration and training
to more than 150,000 doctors in the UK.

Bacon’s new site – www.iwantgreatcare.org
– enables you to search for a great doctor, and to rate and review your
doctor. It’s simple but powerful, and gaining momentum.

At the
end of week one, more than 50,000 visits to the site had occurred with
visitors spending nearly 5 minutes on the site. More than 2,000 reviews
were added, and more than 90 per cent of them are highly positive.

While
300 doctors in the UK have complained, patient response has been
uniformly positive to the idea. Some doctors are requesting cards to
give to their patients saying that they think it’s a great idea.

There’s
no question that being a doctor is more complex and sensitive than
being a plumber.  But why should a doctor operate without a system
where his insensitivities, chronic lateness, failure to diagnose
correctly or rudeness goes unchecked?

WHAT ARE WE AFRAID OF?

iWantGreatCare,
as a mirror to the service that patients receive, will do more to
ensure that patients get looked after well than any government-operated
scheme or more money into the NHS could do.

What are we afraid
of? That some doctors will become very popular for their bedside
manner? That outstanding care will be praised? In Britain, if you have
money, you get market-driven health-care where doctors have to be
responsive to patients. If you’re poor, you get the “take it or leave
it” NHS.

A competent doctor is a basic human right. But if we
can’t open the entire system to the best practices of the private world
and enable great care in that manner, then at a minimum, we should
allow patients to review their doctors and give them praise for doing
great work.

True freedom doesn’t exist when people cannot speak
to the pleasure or displeasure of the services provided by the state.
Providing a rating system means that everyone steps up and thinks of
patients as customers – who are paying through their taxes.

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