Friday, September 21, 2007

National Health Care: All it's cracked up to be?

Have you heard about how wonderful the "free" National Health Service is in England? Apparently, proponents of a nationalized health care system in the US often site Great Britain's system as a role model. I say be careful what you wish for. The NHS in Britain is beset by the very problems you would expect a giant government bureaucracy to have: inefficiency, incompetence, and, irrelativity. This is an article from the September 19 London Telegraph by Liz Hunt. It sounds like the NHS might be less than wonderful.

Bring back the men in white coats

A world-renowned cancer expert is turning to Pizza Express to help him deliver the care he believes British patients are entitled to expect.

Decades of experience have led Professor Karol Sikora to despair of the varying standards in the NHS, and he has long been thwarted in his efforts to change the system internally.

Hence the alliance with Luke Johnson, entrepreneur and restauranteur, to run a chain of cancer clinics providing a service that is cheap, reliable and high quality - the hallmark of Johnson’s pizzas - to NHS patients.

At the same time, a former Government adviser, Sir Derek Wanless, warns that the long-term future of the NHS is in doubt, and the world class healthcare, endlessly promised by politicians, continues to elude us despite record levels of funding.

But doom-mongering reports and evidence of their failure will not distract the legion of health service bureaucrats from what really matters; a ludicrous ban on knitting needles at a Cheshire hospital for reasons of health and safety, and an end to the tradition of doctors wearing white coats.

Does anyone seriously believe that this latter initiative will have any significant impact when hospitals are routinely filthy and lacking basics such as soap and towels?

Here's a related article about rationing heart surgery and one on rationing cancer drugs.I don't like the sound of that.

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