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Bankrupt Health Care
British Health Care in Need of “Emergency Action”

The former head of Britain’s National Health Service Sir David Nicholson warned Thursday that “emergency action” may be needed to shore up NHS finances. Though the service’s troubles haven’t taken center stage in Britain’s national election, a crisis could be quietly brewing. Here’s the BBC:

In an interview for BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Sir David – who ran the NHS in England for eight years – said that because there was an election period, the NHS was unable to publish the latest report on its financial position.

But he said it was “pretty clear in the NHS that there is a substantial financial problem, particularly in the hospital sector” which would become “crystal clear” in the autumn […]

He said the NHS would have to take “emergency action” such as vacancy freezes.

To date, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have both pledged to increase funding by £8 billon by 2020, but Labour hasn’t. And Nicholson says that even the £8 billon depends on NHS’s earning £22 billion through “efficiency savings,” which he skeptically called a “big ask.” Nicholson predicts that, if those savings aren’t earned, Britons could see a “managed decline” of longer wait times, more restrictions on drug availability, and other barriers to access to care. Not a pretty picture.

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  • lord acton

    But it’s all free right? I am confused. Maybe the friendliest goat can explain it to us.

    • Andrew Allison

      I suspect that our Jacksonian Libertarian friend can provide an explanation (absence of competition in the provision of services).

      • f1b0nacc1

        I will just continue to smile while reading this…

        • Corlyss

          They’re going down the crapper, in as poor health as they would have been if they’d spent the money at casinos. What a freakin’ scam!

          • f1b0nacc1

            Indeed so…wish I could feel some sympathy for them, but honestly I don’t…
            And some idiots here want us to emulate that?

          • Andrew Allison
          • Corlyss

            There are no non-partisans in this area. It doesn’t help that the report is touted by WAPO, the Progs’ junior propaganda wing, or that the board of directors of the Commonwealth Fund is so heavily weighted with iconic liberal states and former feds. The only one I’d trust is GAO, even then I want to see the methodology.

          • Andrew Allison

            Can you present any evidence that the data referred to are inaccurate? Claiming that evidence which contradicts your viewpoint is false just doesn’t wash. Multiple studies all come to the same general conclusion, namely that health care in the US costs roughly twice as much as in the other OECD countries and delivers inferior outcomes. Denying it doesn’t make for constructive discourse.

          • Corlyss

            I said I didn’t trust it because every report on health systems, regardless of source, is published by some organization with some agenda. Take for example, Commonwealth Fund’s statement at the bottom of the 2nd page:

            “The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation that promotes a high performance health care system providing better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency. The Fund’s work focuses particularly on society’s most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults.

            “The Fund carries out this mandate by supporting independent research on health care issues and making grants to improve health care practice and policy. An international program in health policy is designed to stimulate innovative policies and practices in the United States and other industrialized countries.”
            Not an agenda? C’mon.
            Next look at the methodology page: no useable data to determine what was asked of whom.
            That’s about as much as I’m going to do to explain why I don’t trust this report. It’s just another rock thrown at the US system by one of the usual suspects. I’ve already stated here in other discussions of the European systems that there’s so much evidence of cooking their books on just about every government program with a lot of users and a lot of government money that not even government reports, maybe ESPECIALLY not government reports, are trustworthy guides to what is actually happening.

    • FriendlyGoat

      Glad to be called upon. And even though I call myself a goat here (partly because I have an actual goat out back), I really do try to be friendly (like my real goat). So here’s the story you want to hear.

      Britain can privatize all it’s medical services and have doctors and private-sector-remodeled gleaming facilities half empty and standing by to immediately serve all customers able to pay retail. Wait times will be short because people unable to pay will not be clogging up the system.
      Those who can pay will pay A LOT (because good care ain’t cheap). That will make doctors happy—-and especially if they get some tax cuts and deregulation. Many other people will basically die sooner and that will make actuaries (except at life insurance companies) happy. Some people who are lucky enough so far to just stay as far as they can away from doctors will say “meh, who cares?”

      And that’t the end of today’s conservative-land story. Night, night. Sleep tight.

      • lord acton

        Señor goat, we may disagree about how the world works, but I like your style and would sit a few beers with you anytime.

        • FriendlyGoat

          Thanks. I’d like that—–realizing, as we do, that we have different world views.

  • Corlyss

    I s’pose cutting services and making the beneficiaries pay for their own damn expenses is out of the question. Oh, yeah. “We all know what must be done. We just don’t know how to get re-elected if we do it.” Sorry. I forgot . . . .

    • Josephbleau

      Why is there no one who will lie and cheat to all in order to get elected and when that mission is accomplished, say Ha Ha I am cutting the budget to a sustainable level and be damned with your foolish wishes? We always get the guys/gals who lie the other way.

      • Corlyss

        Tis the human nature way.

      • Boritz

        And we always have the voters who take them at their word.

  • palintologist

    They’ll do everything but dismantle the NHS and open everything up to competition, right?

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