3/06/2010

The "ugly truth about [UK] National Health Service"

The British government suppressing information on problems with bad patient care. What this article indicates is that the waiting time is reduced only by lowering the quality of service even further.

DAMNING reports on the state of the National Health Service, suppressed by the government, reveal how patients’ needs have been neglected.

They diagnose a blind pursuit of political and managerial targets as the root cause of a string of hospital scandals that have cost thousands of lives.

The harsh verdict on the state of the NHS, after a spending splurge under Labour between 2000 and 2008, raises worrying questions about the future quality of the health service as budgets are squeezed.

One report, based on the advice of almost 200 top managers and doctors, says hospitals ignored basic hygiene to cram in patients to meet waiting-time targets. . . . .

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5 Comments:

Blogger Sackerson said...

Bad management of the NHS doesn't necessarily mean that poor (or newly-unemployed) people should forfeit access to medical care.

Does the present system in the USA really work well? Can it continue in its present form?

And just in case I get some ill-informed ad hominem redneck rant, is it not a Christian's duty to show practical concern for the less-well-off?

But if you want a horror story about medical negligence, read this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1255858/Neglected-lazy-nurses-Kane-Gorny-22-dying-thirst-rang-police-beg-water.html

3/07/2010 5:40 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Sorry, Sackerson, but a very large majority of uninsured patients in the US are very satisfied with the quality of the health care that they receive. Uninsured Americans are just as happy with the quality of their health care as Canadians who are covered by their government system. Other data suggests that they are happier than those under the British system. Of course, Americans with insurance are by far the most satisfied of anyone. Do you propose lowering everyone's satisfaction level to the level of the British?

3/07/2010 12:01 PM  
Blogger Sackerson said...

I'm not sure how much to rely on emotional surveys. I have a doctor friend who took a long time to realise that what matters is not how good a doctor you are, but how you handle patients' feelings and perceptions. He noted from his early years in hospital that some of the most grateful patients were ones who'd nearly been killed by medical error (which they didn't get to know about) and then brought back from the brink. Later, in general practice, it took him years to switch from concentrating on treating the condition to handling the patient's emotions (and the emotions of their family).

A lot depends on whom you survey - I believe that currently, the US system gives free medical care to retirees and war veterans. But a former US Comptroller General (David Walker) has been doing a Cassandra tour for - what, two, three years? - warning that the Union can't afford the present total spending arrangements into the indefinite future. So can it be done more cheaply per head, more efficiently, or will elements be cut and "satisfaction" decrease?

BTW I was not implying YOU were going to give me the redneck treatment, but the whole issue has taken on (or been given, by one side) strong political colours - "socialized medicine" etc. Fact is, with retirees and vets already catered for, the US already has s.m., particularly when you consider that insurance companies are also a form of collective arrangement.

The argument may develop further as more Americans lose their jobs and the employer-paid medical insurance that goes with it.

3/07/2010 1:46 PM  
Blogger Sailorcurt said...

And just in case I get some ill-informed ad hominem redneck rant, is it not a Christian's duty to show practical concern for the less-well-off?

As ill-advised as it often is to respond to obvious bigots ("don't feed the trolls" and all that...), it never ceases to amaze me how many people who so obviously have so little understanding of Christian principles feel justified in providing theological lessons to those who DO study and practice the religion.

You see: Jesus didn't teach us that our duty as Christians is to show "practical concern for the less-well-off"...whatever that is; our duty is to take PERSONAL responsibility for the care of the "less-well-off".

In other words, Christians believe it is our personal duty to provide, out of our own pockets or through our own personal efforts, for the well being of the "less-well-off". Not to self-righteously demand that everyone else pay for our own crises of conscience.

3/08/2010 9:48 AM  
Blogger Sackerson said...

No argument there, Sailorcurt - I was merely trying to forestall the "commie" slur - which I particularly deplore since my father was a career soldier in the British Army and my mother's family's farm was overrun by the Red Army at the end of WWII.

I don't know if the healthcare debate is typical of political debate generally, but it all gets so vicious so fast - there seems little room for reasoned argument and willingness to consider alternatives.

But with the best will in the world, you aren't going to be able to personally take care of whole communities that may have lost their employee healthcare insurance entitlement because the local factory closed down. And as I've already said, the US already provides free care for retirees and veterans, so there is a great deal of collective provision in place. The question is, can it continue, should it be extended, how can it be afforded, does it work better or more cheaply via insurance (look at the situations where companies refuse to - or limit financially - pay for chronic care, refuse cover in the first place, find getouts in the fine print to repudiate claims).

And in my first comment, I linked to an example of how the bureaucratic approach can fail horribly; there is no substitute for genuine personal involvement - though there may be room for expert advice and third-party assistance. Even the Good Samaritan used a hotel to help him take care of the robbery victim.

3/08/2010 12:02 PM  

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