What Next: Grammar Hospitals?

Imagine a hospital where patients have to take a fitness test in order to qualify for treatment.

At the Grammar Hospital for the healthier, only those with next to nothing wrong would be accepted for treatment. Patients would have to be able to run 10 miles to be eligible for an MRI, to comfortably deadlift to be offered dialysis. You’d have to be fighting fit to get an IV drip. An existing diagnosis? They’d show you the door.

Such a hospital would be able to brag about its great outcomes and people would be keen to be treated there. You’d almost certainly be discharged in good health; back to your old self again. Not even Jeremy Hunt could conjure up a scary weekend death-rate statistic. There would be little chance of infection in the waiting room either because nobody’s ill, although you might catch a serious case of smug.

And it would probably be a pleasant place to work for those who are medically trained. There would be little need for surgery so scrubs would stay nice and clean, and no need to work the night shift since most patients could go home. This would leave both doctors and patients refreshed enough to spend their days congratulating each other on their miraculous recoveries and medical skills respectively.

And of course Tory Ministers would wax lyrical on the success of their ‘Healing for the Healthy’ initiative and of the quality of service they and their families receive at their local grammar hospital branch. Good outcomes, high efficiency, low operating costs.

Meanwhile at the local Secondary Modern hospital, staff would be working valiantly to treat the rest of the population, but the outcomes would never match those of the Grammar Hospitals.

Of course in reality, no one would propose that a public-service based on the principles of fair access for all should function like this, would they?