Getting doctors on the cheap has been the mantra of this and the last government.
Banning pay rises, and looking for cheaper alternatives – like physician associates – has been a priority in our apparently bankrupt society.
And that genius Health Minister Lord David Prior may just have come up with the game changer.
Robots, I hear you say? No, dogs. Not even robotic dogs, just dogs.
He’s flagged up the cost savings of having dogs sniff out diseases compared with new doctors.
“The cost of training a dog is some £11,200, considerably less than the cost of training a doctor.
“We should not underestimate the contribution that dogs can make. It is something that we will certainly encourage.”
The remark comes as NHS England awaits the results of a three-year trial of prostate cancer-detecting dogs at Milton Keynes University Hospital.
Pooches have a sense of smell up to ten million times more sensitive than humans and can be taught to detect conditions including cancer and dangerously low blood sugar in diabetics.
They’re also easier to handle. No need for CEAs, pensions, six week holidays. All they need is a regular scratch under the chin, a daily can of ‘horse meat’, and the license to lick their bits in public and sniff colleagues’ bums.
And let’s face it, orthopods have been doing this – and worse – for years, so it shouldn’t be too hard to adjust…