“Qof That Champers Old Chap – We’ve Blown £30 Billion On An Un-Healthy Experiment”
Dictionary meaning of quaffing: ‘to drink a lot in a short time’. But this Quaff or more precisely QOF, refers to a Governmental: Quality Outcomes Framework. The name alone says, for sure: you’ve been quangoed. A mindful management type emailed me an article last week, which of course, doubled my inbox. The subject line was headed: One For You. Always ominous, I opened it gingerly… I had been expecting a time limited offer of manhood extension or that my long lost Dictator relatives have 30 million large ones to deposit into my bank account – pronto. But I was wrong, management man was making a sound point, pointing his pointy digit at waste in Government spending. No, just like you I thought, surely not.
Let Them Eat Drugs
The article was penned by Jerome Burne and great it was, outlining what he called the biggest health experiment ever. Conducted in Britain, the trial ran for 15 years and cost £30 billion. But there has been barely a squeak, a public whisper about what was achieved, or not. The QOF study focus was on: heart disease, cancer, and a composite of all non-targeted conditions. Mr Burne’s article highlighted: the largest ever ‘health’ trial which tested the effectiveness and safety of using drugs to cut the risk of developing chronic disease. It was astonishing and revealed a massive failure of a major plank in public health policy. Yet these findings have remained effectively secret.
Aimed and Shamed
The trial aimed to save 10,000 lives, cut hospital admissions and increase life expectancy. All very laudable. Yet, it did none of those – of course, ‘natch’, obviously. I say ‘obviously’ because the first ‘stat’, being a biggish round number, confirmed for starters that it was a guess – as in four noughts tell you nought, even if they have a 1, 2, or 3 in front of them. The trial was likely baked, as in cooked up, by Committeeistas looking for: near term whole cycle metrics of diversity to aid inclusive moral agendas of sustainable healthcare fit for purpose in the 21st Century. Or some such.
Back to the QOF trial as published in the Lancet in May 2016: Long Term Evidence for the Effect of Pay For Performance in Primary Care on mortality in the UK: a population study by: AM Ryan, S Krinsky, E Kontopantelis, and T Doran. They studied all cause (precise, hard to deny, binary) mortality between 1994 and 2010 – they stated: ‘the QOF was not associated with significant changes in mortality. Our findings have implications for the probable effects of similar programmes on populations health outcomes’. All at a cost of £30 billion – hardly a free bursary recommendation for getting Einstein into Oxford is it? The ball was not so much dropped, as punctured and eaten by a Staffie, in the park.
No Jury, No Trial – You Be The Judge
To be fair (for once) it wasn’t actually a trial, as in there were no ‘control’ subjects. It couldn’t have had a control group because the guinea pigistas, were the entire UK population. You be the judge of what could possibly go wrong, statistically speaking. In fact, only you should be the judge of such a ‘no controls’ trial – one done to you and with your money.
Sure Takes The Biscuit
As ever, with an assumed outcome of compelled answers (and speech?) the study almost certainly followed the wrong recipe. Repeat after me “Doc, you can’t medicate your way to Wellness” – although you can masticate yourself to it. Or not. Example A: when Delia Berry Whittingstall knocks up a cake you can be sure it needs two eggs – for that perfect Victoria (Beckham) Sponge. One that Granny won’t have to take her teeth out to enjoy, (nor the ever smiling, Victoria). Just add two eggs, no more, no less – unless egg on facetime, beckons. But in the case of Government book ‘cooking’ you know, just know, to follow the dough. Likely, such burnt offerings will be long forgotten and buried around the time of the next election. With the QOF project, we may just have started a ‘disease mongering’ model – one from which it’s increasingly hard to escape.
Killing For Profit
But the language of ‘health’ has recently changed. It’s been upregulated while a growing challenge is now coming from within the higher medical establishment – not just from the Qofing rank and file. Some traditional insiders, suspect a bit of table rigging is taking place and that the ‘level’ playing field has likely lost its ‘spirit’. One such ‘insider’ is prominent Cardiologist, Dr Aseem Malhotra. He’s a clear communicator too, with his recent two hour video: Killing For Profit, Big Food and Big Pharma, raising an eyebrow or two. Maybe, he’s also raising the heart pressure of a few of his colleagues. He outlines the cholesterol con, filtered evidence and scientific deception of statins, once again. Just don’t choke on your low fat pizza and zero calorie fizzy drinks. Sad, and hardly carbtastic is it? The video also features Sir Richard Thompson, former Physician to the Queen. He raises his concerns about the mass medication harms of statins due to wholesale ‘score’ lowering of ‘patients’ (artists, formerly known as people). It’s no surprise that Big Gov is fingered and battered. Something fishy IS in play while Governments get drag netted into ever closer (jobs and votes) agendas by Big Food and Big Pharma.
A Bigger Beggin Bowl Please
However, with this continual ‘health’ focus, it doesn’t seem to make us less frequent visitors to the sick bay. Looking at the NHS, their UOBNED (Upwards Only But Never Enough Dosh) spend, we’re not just running out of acronyms – we’re also running out of well people. What if we become so sick that there were no ‘worried well’ customers, left in circulation? What if there was no one healthy to work in hospitals, finally. Being objective and evidence based it’s clear the UK’s belt buckles and budgets have expanded directly, in ‘sync’, – or should that be: in sink and fridge together with our over-stocked freezers. With all the billions of new spend, of bells and whistles, of daily talk of ‘breakthrough’ drugs a comin’ and ‘beating cancer’, sooner. Talking of bells and whistles, just where is the Court Jester when you really need one? It’s toe curling, to see that QOF actually added less than nothing except a £30 billion hole, painted in red ink. While we ignore the gateway drugs of multiple meds on QOF’s pay for performance ‘programme’.
Burn Baby Burn
Mr Burne does well to highlight the unhealthy goings on, while Rome smoulders. Clearly this Jerome is not fiddling – but others might be.