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Nurses With “Do Not Disturb” Signs: Government-Directed Health Care

It was supposed to be one of a series of “measures to improve safety, reliability, patient experience, staff satisfaction and efficiency of medicine management.” Instead, the wearing of red “tabards” by nurses that read “Do Not Disturb” while they distributed medications has proven to be the straw that broke the camel’s back in England. While the “Do Not Disturb” message on the tabards was replaced with a message that reads “Drug Round in Progress,” isn’t the message the same?

Directive Number 99365.23a: “In the Name of Safety, Do Not Bother Me While I Hand Out Medications.”

It seems almost too incredible to believe and yet, this is how it’s playing out now in England’s National Health Service.

I’m not sure I’ve seen a better example of where the caring professions are heading in a world of government-directed health care delivery; where personal responsibility is slowly replaced by personnel mandates. Can every single aspect of human interaction and decision-making be controlled by a Central Patient Safety Authority?

American’s should heed this warning from our friends across the pond, especially when our Director of CMS and former safety czar states:

Improving care and lowering costs are at the heart of the Affordable Care Act. As a pediatrician, as a patient and now as administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, I have seen our health care system both at its best and at its worst. We know that system that we want — and with the ACA, we can have it.

Sorry, but when cost containment is involved in the equation (and this remains Priority One for our much larger health care US Health Care system) and we want to cover more of the uninsured in America, eventually something has to give.

Quality.

Quantity.

Lower Cost.

Pick any two.

For those of us who live in the real world, we should ask ourselves a seemingly simple question: Where are we willing to cut the quality of the health care delivery in America in favor of lowering costs and covering more of the uninsured?

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*


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