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Elderly left at risk by NHS bidding wars to find cheapest care with reverse auctions
An online auction system developed to buy cheap office suppiles and stationery is being used to buy end-of-life and dementia care for vulnerable elderly people.
The NHS in London has held a series of 30 “reverse e-auctions”, where bids are driven down instead of up, for £195 million worth of contracts for palliative and dementia care for patients leaving hospital.
Reverse auctions to buy care for the elderly are relatively new and The Times has found that standards and quality have deteriorated rapidly where they have been used.
... part of what I think government can do effectively is to be an honest broker in assessing and evaluating treatment options ... .
... when I talk about the importance of using comparative-effectiveness studies as a way of reining in costs ... it is an attempt to say to patients, you know what, we’ve looked at some objective studies out here, people who know about this stuff, concluding that the blue pill, which costs half as much as the red pill, is just as effective ... .
Whether ... to give aging grandparents or parents, a hip replacement when they’re terminally ill is a sustainable model, is a very difficult question. ... the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill.
I think that there is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place. ... And that’s part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance.