Last post I talked about the British people’s blindness regarding their beloved, but failing, National Health Service (NHS). None other than a British politician and former member of the European Parliament, Dan Hannan, called the NHS “a fairly unimpressive system, when compared to other developed nations.” For more on Hannan’s observations about the NHS and the British people, see Part I.
In Part II I want to further document the deplorable healthcare outcomes of the NHS and help my fellow Americans, if not the British, understand the evils of a socialized medicine system.
In my 2014 book, The ObamaCare Reality, I documented the failures of the NHS. The NHS reported in 2014 that its hospital waiting lists soared to their highest point since 2006, with 3.2 million patients waiting for treatment after diagnosis. Even among those referred for “urgent” treatment, 15% waited more than 62 days to begin treatment.
Access to healthcare is the major problem in all socialized medicine systems in the world. The NHS is no exception. In an effort to overcome this problem, many patients seek treatment at emergency rooms. Some patients actually visit the ER up to four times a week. The BBC reports, “nearly 12,000 people made more than 10 visits to the same ER unit in 2012-2013.”
Despite the specific intention of the founders of NHS to overcome the access problem from its inception in 1948, two studies done in the 1980s and the 2000s, known as the Black Report and the Acheson Report, found evidence that access had become less equal, not more, in the years between the studies. In fact, the problem of poor access is so well known in Britain that the press refers to the NHS as a “postcode lottery.” This refers to a person’s chances for timely, high quality treatment depends on the neighborhood, or “postcode” in which he or she lives.
The Guardian newspaper in Britain sums up the situation thus: “Generally speaking, the poorer you are and the more socially deprived your area, the worse your care and access is likely to be.”
Is the situation getting better or worse?
Here are some more recent facts about the NHS from 2017:
- Over 140 Billion British pounds were spent on the NHS in 2017 (up from 12 billion in 1955)
- 30% of the UK budget now goes to the NHS (up from 11% in 1955)
- There is no end in sight to these rising costs in the future
Here are some worldwide healthcare outcome comparisons:
- Breast cancer 5 year survival rates
- U. S. ranks 1st – 88.7% – UK ranks 19th – 82%
- Colorectal cancer 5 year survival rates
- U. S. ranks 5th – 64.7% – UK ranks 20th – 54.5%
- Heart attack 30 day in-hospital mortality rates
- U. S. ranks 7th – 5.5% – UK ranks 22nd – 7.8%
- Stroke 30 day in-hospital mortality rates
- U. S. ranks 4th – 4.3% – UK ranks 25th – 10.4%
Despite the British people’s loyalty to the NHS, even the liberal British media is showing signs of throwing in the towel. Judith Woods, columnist for the Daily Telegraph, says, “It’s time to make difficult decisions about the NHS. The NHS, dying on its feet for decades, is in a critical state. The promised injection of cash may stabilize it temporarily, but the chances of a full recovery are nil.” The Guardian stated its position in a recent headline that declared the NHS is “on the brink of extinction.”
As the United States searches for answers to the failing ObamaCare system, we must be sure not to listen to the siren songs of the left who are calling for Medicare For All, a socialized system much like Great Britain. Those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.