British health care

Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman has denounced those who question the quality of British health care, calling them liars.

In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false. Like every system, the National Health Service has problems, but over all it appears to provide quite good care while spending only about 40 percent as much per person as we do.

The Times of London begs to disagree.

Patients were routinely neglected or left “sobbing and humiliated” by staff at an NHS trust where at least 400 deaths have been linked to appalling care.

An independent inquiry found that managers at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust stopped providing safe care because they were preoccupied with government targets and cutting costs.

Staff shortages at Stafford Hospital meant that patients went unwashed for weeks, were left without food or drink and were even unable to get to the lavatory. Some lay in soiled sheets that relatives had to take home to wash, others developed infections or had falls, occasionally fatal. Many staff did their best but the attitude of some nurses “left a lot to be desired”.

Krugman also has opinions, equally as accurate and valuable, on how to run our economy.

16 Comments

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16 responses to “British health care

  1. Old Coot

    Krugman is an ass.

  2. Hmmmm seems to me that a Nobel Prize is becoming ever more like the kiss of credibility death given the less than illustrious list of some recent Nobel recipients, including, without limitation, Barack Obama; The Man who Gave us the Islamic Republic of Iran – James Earl Carter; The INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE (IPCC) Fraudsters & AGW Huckster Albert Gore, Jr.; Food-for-Oil Scam Kingpin Kofi Annan; Uber-Terrorist Yasser Arafat. I know, they got a few of them right like Medecins Sans Frontieres and Shirin Ebadi, but those picks seem like sheer dumb luck nowadays.

  3. Red

    Well, newspaper coverage of a sub-par British hospital doesn’t mean the British system is broken. On the contrary, it might mean expectations of quality are higher in the UK than they are here.

    One related note, based on a recent trip — have you ever noticed there aren’t a lot of obese Brits? Either they have a healthier lifestyle, or the fattest ones just don’t survive very long….

  4. Anonymous

    The Nobel Prize has been debased by its committee into a poke-in-the-eye-to-the-United-States award. As cited above, Krugman, Gore, Carter, Obama, Annan, Arafat…it’s become a joke.

    Surely Alfred Nobel must be rolling around in his grave trying to dream up a way to blow up all these pretenders in one fell swoop.

  5. Priapus

    Obviously dentistry isn’t included…

  6. bk

    I would invite Mr K to exchange his US healthcare package and sign up for the UK NHS. Its basic at best. I had to fly to NYC (Hospital for Specialized Surgery HSS) for a routine operation because the fracture clinic wouldnt be opened for another 4 days. The methods are midevel and often patients die while on the waiting list for open heart surgery. (9 months waiting list)
    13.8% employer National insurance (NI) tax to cover the costs of the largest employer in Europe.

    Its real, I’m living the dream!! (nightmare)

  7. wall street

    Im English, and live here for a reason!…..the NHS is part of this. At best its sub par, at worst its a liability. Americans dont realise what a great system they are about to obliterate.
    Red – you couldnt be more wrong – the British public is routinely and systematically abused by its government – its precisley because the gradual decline since the 50’s hasn’t been properly addressed by an apathetic population that this hasnt changed. There is a cultural acceptance problem with receiving a crappy sysytem fo free, over accepting the possibility of paying for something that could be improved and taking finacial responsibility into their own hands.
    Priapus – funnily enough – dentistry is – hence the post war image of bad gnashers in the UK!….thats what happens to teeth after rationing and the government gets hold of your dentistry!…..beware… the last time I was down south in the US it looked they were test driving the same system….

  8. Anonymous

    Breast and prostate cancer patients in the US have a 4x better chance of survival than their peer group in the UK. This has been attributed to the superior treatment patients in the US receive.

    On another note, many out there use the fact that people in socialized medical states are healthier than those in the US to support their claim that socialized medicine provides a better healthcare system. This is a scientifically unsound statement. Health is related to genetics, environment and lifestyle choices, not the healthcare system. Many Americans are obese…why…figure it out and it ain’t go nothing to do with the healthcare system.

  9. Anonymous

    Red is a red.

  10. IN RESPONSE TO: There is a cultural acceptance problem with receiving a crappy sysytem fo free, over accepting the possibility of paying for something that could be improved and taking finacial responsibility into their own hands.

    Many are not Wall St. folks and cannot afford the level of care you would receive after paying TOP DOLLARS! That’s the problem we have here…UNAFFORDABILITY ISSUES b/c the FEES are ASTRONOMICAL for most of the population!

  11. wall street

    Ok – Ill rename my header “Sesame Street” and not “Wall Street” maybe people wont jump to incorrect conclusions… the concept of “not paying” for a nationalised industry is the irony …..we all pay – just more $ or Pounds for a worse system…..A private system can also include a safety net…and choices
    TOP DOLLARS are def. paid once the government gives us reform…both in the US and the UK. How about tort reform? that may help bring down prices as much as anything else…

  12. Anonymous

    Sesame Street says it well and no else seems to understand that we will all pay more for helathcare with Obama’s proposal. We may not pay for it in insurance costs, but we WILL pay for it in higher taxes. ALL of us will pay. Medicare taxes will increase by at least 5%, payroll taxes will increase by at least 3% to pay for this mess. These numbers are only estimates, because Obama has not told anyone the details of his program….why….because it will scare the S out of the American public.

    Make no mistake, this program will cost over $1 trillion, will not reduce healthcare costs and will be paid for in higher taxes by those of us who pay taxes.

    The cornerstone program of Obama’s great wealth redistribution plan.

  13. pulled up in OG

    Greenwich Time chuckle today.

    Front page – Hospital hit with new Rubins suit

    Op-ed page – Frank Corvino on tort reform.

  14. Red

    Anon @9:25 — alas, not correct.

  15. With you Wall Street/Sesame Street and Anonymous @10:21.

    The crappy public health care system in Ireland, my birth place, costs the government (Irish tax payers) 60% of all gov. collected revenue.

    You go into a hospital for more than a day there, you need to go on anti-depressants for the following 6 months after getting out. That is, if your one of the lucky ones to make it out.

  16. happy in riverside

    Lived in England for many years but I’m a Yank (American) and I can tell you for SURE that anyone with money bought private healthcare insurance to supplement/supercede what NHS had to offer. My root canal in London was ‘interesting” as the dentist tried to give me a mercury filling – saying it had never been ‘100% proven’ to cause a host of issues including senility. Then the dentist ran out of anaethesia in the middle of the operation. Hospitals in the UK are a hygenic horror show – they invented MRSA. Just imagine the very worst kind of giant, bureaucratized, mindnumbingly inefficient union in the world and you have the NHS. America is setting down the road in the pursuit of absolute mediocrity which will undoubtedly still cost top dollar. Stop this now.