How would America trip benefit city?
A group of doctors and health officials from Leicester could be heading to the United States on a £40,000 five-day trip to look at the American health system, we learn today.
The proposal is being considered by the Leicester City clinical commissioning group, a body which takes over the responsibility for running local health services from April 1.
A spokesman for the clinical commissioning group assures us that no final decision has been made and the governing body has asked for more detailed work to be undertaken to evaluate the potential benefits.
We are sure that the public will want to know the answer to that question too.
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The idea of the trip is to look at ways of improving the links between GPs and hospital services.
Achieving that end might indeed be very useful.
However, it is difficult, on the face of it, to work out why it is particularly advantageous to go to America to study the way the health system there works in this respect.
Is it considered a particularly good model for others to follow?
What are the examples of "best practice" in the United States which could benefit patients here?
And if it is felt to be a system from which we can learn, why is it necessary to send a party of 10 to 12 people to study it?
Would it not be possible to send a single individual who could report back his or her findings?
Of course £40,000 is a relatively small amount of money and if the trip to America produced results which would benefit large numbers of patients in Leicester that would be a modest investment for a good outcome.
However, we live in times when the health service budget is severely stretched.
It is not only important to make sure that every penny counts but that the public can see that this is the case.
So, we think that if this trip is given the go-ahead the questions we have posed in this column should be answered. We would, of course, be happy to publish those answers.