The track record of the corporate marketplace in educating and in providing choice is very poor. An integrated system within the community would be more effective and less at risk of misuse.
Samuel claims that current systems limit patients' choices and that the market offers more choice. He also indicates that "consumers" are becoming better educated and so able to make choices in the marketplace.
I argue that a good relationship built on mutual trust formed outside the pressures of the marketplace is better able to inform and assist the educated patient in making choices. This is particularly so when the patient is stressed by illness.
In practice many consumers are not in a position to make objective choices, particularly when they are seriously ill or otherwise incapacitated.
The claim that the health care marketplace offers more choice cannot be sustained on the evidence available. Choice soon falls victim to competition for market share. Instead of offering choice the health care marketplace has restricted it. Marketing and selective corporate education programs have impacted on the ability of citizens to make properly informed choices. These activities have preyed on their vulnerability.
CLICK HERE -- for information about choice
CLICK HERE -- for information about corporate marketing and education
Samuel asserts that the health system is structured in many ways for the benefit of service providers, rather than consumers. This is not true in Australia. It is structured for the administrative purposes of those who fund the service and organise it. This is not ideal for either those providing care or those receiving it. It introduces unproductive competition between the different sectors and makes many of the services more difficult to provide effectively. It impedes integration. Samuel now suggests we compound this problem by restructuring health care for the purposes of economic ideology and the benefit of the market.
I suggest that the current divisions should be abolished and that health be restructured cooperatively along the lines of the services provided so that the services can be brought most efficiently and effectively to the citizens who need them. If the service is going to be both effective and of a good standard then it also has to accommodate to the working practices of those who provide the care. How this would be best accomplished should be a matter for the community to decide in consultation with those who provide the services.
Samuel proposes to subject patients and those working in the system to a health system built on a highly theoretical model based on a grand theory developed in a totally different context.
CLICK HERE -- to proceed to the next criticism - Number 6
CLICK HERE -- to go to the next section of Samuel's speech