Friday, February 8, 2013

Why are we waiting?

Waiting Time Policies in the Health Sector What Works?

One could say quickly, waiting lists exist in NHS because prices are mostly absent and insurance plays a role. In consumer markets, waiting lists appear when there are creators of scarcity as Brandenburger-Nalebuff explained in his book as a specific strategy, or when there is a temporary mismatch between supply and demand. Since the solution in health care is not to introduce prices and forget insurance, we have to ask about the best practices on tackling such issue. The report by OECD says:
Supply-side waiting time policies, by themselves, are usually not successful. In the earlier OECD study on waiting time policies, the most common policy was to provide increased funding to health providers to decrease waiting times, and this type of policy continues to be a common approach. It has almost invariably been unsuccessful in bringing down waiting times over the long term. Generally, there is a short-term burst of funding that initially reduces waiting times, but then waiting times increase, and occasionally return to even higher levels when the temporary funding runs out. The other main supply-side policy is increasing hospital productivity, by introducing new payment methods such as activitybased financing (ABF) using diagnosis-related groups. This increases hospital productivity, but does not necessarily decrease waiting times.
The most promising tool is prioritisation within a waiting list. The cases of Norway and Australia are interesting examples to check. Nearer here we started with research, and finally a decree was prepared to be released. Unfortunately last April we received a phone call saying it was not possible to rule on waiting lists, that somebody would do it for us. At that moment I said that the intervention of health policy started. The answer today to the initial question - why are we waiting- is at least this one: we have made unnecessary political concessions and we should apply our legislation, we don't need the intervention from outside. That's it.


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