Nice email from a radiologist working in Bath who has found out about uk-radiology. The radiologists there have set up a partnership just like uk-radiology. They are near enough to be competitors but the real competition are the parasitic independent 2nd wave providers whom the Government have brought in to smash DGH radiology departments. The Department of Health know that if routine work and funding is diverted to these people, the local district general hospital radiology departments would be starved of resources and in a few years would become obsolete and unable to attract staff. This would spell the end of the hospital itself, which is, after all, the point of the whole devious exercise. Remember, Nulabour set out to boldly "reconfigure" district general hospitals and got a good drubbing when retired surgeon Richard Taylor stood as a "Keep Kidderminster Hospital Open" candidate and overturned a safe Labour majority in 2001- they weren't going to try that again and Alan Milburn had to think up a more devious plan to offload the troublesome and inconvenient network of autonomous DGHs.
The evil plan was to lumber hospitals with debts (PFI), make them financially independent and then divert away their income stream and watch them go under. To avoid any public outcry the DOH feeds a steady supply of stories to the media about how common conditions like heart attacks and strokes can't be properly cared for in local hospitals, and that consultants in DGHs (where most are employed) don't work hard enough for the huge incomes they are paid.
So far its not quite working to plan. Nulabour thought GPs would do anything providing they were paid enough but they have, unexpectedly, decided to support their DGH and local consultants. The general public no longer believe Nulabour spin (for example, many preferred the Iranian version of events surrounding the capture of Royal Navy personnel, hence the extraordinary decision to let the sailors sell "their" version to the press) and now treat any government announcements on Health with healthy skepticism. Finally the independent sector providers have only been able to recruit piss-poor radiologists for what they want to pay and are facing competition from NHS departments who have upped their game to compete. Some, like BUPA, have already pulled out, others have delayed their launch and ATOS Origin had it's service suspended because of worries about its quality.