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British PM May apologises as overwhelmed hospitals cancel non-emergency operations

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There has been seven years of NHS underfunding, 15,000 beds closed and nursing, midwifery and other health care professions having the free university tuition for these courses cut. There is no money, no beds and no staff. Everyone saw this crisis coming except the government.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There is no money

There is money, it's just being spent on different things (like using bribes to the DUP to prop up the failing conservative administration after they lost the last unnecessary election). May saying she's 'sorry' isn't enough.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

May saying she's 'sorry' isn't enough.

Yes, but that’s actually progress of sorts. Her reactions in the past involved her doing an impression of a pull toy and trotting out the line of her government investing more in real terms whenever the latest NHS horror story was revealed.

Absolute disgrace.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

But I thought UK health care was "free"? How can there be any money issues? I'm confused.

Good thing they saved all that money by staying on WinXP.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

It's the same story every winter and brexit will only make matters worse when/if euro nurses & docs go back home. Read that the number of euro nurses moving to the uk had already dropped significantly since brexit vote.

Not much better on the continent tbh as Germany/France also 'need' east euro, Spanish, Portuguese etc nurses & other healthcare professionals. Brexit just makes it easier for them to attract/hire other euro staff.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There is money, it's just being spent on different things

So why not empower people to make that spending decision? This seems like a pretty good argument for tax cuts and a more privatised or multipayer system (like in Japan) so that more people can make their own decisions about how much to spend on their own healthcare?

It seems to me that the NHS is in desperate need of decentralisation and funding reform. The tendency to worship the NHS as the greatest accomplishment in UK history only seems to add to difficulty of that reform. The UK was first, but now it's arguably the worst.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

There is no such thing as free health care. You pay for it when you need it, or you pay for it in advance, or you pay for someone else's health care, or someone else is paying for your heath care, or it is paid for in some other combination. To think you are getting free health care is naive at best.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So why not empower people to make that spending decision? This seems like a pretty good argument for tax cuts and a more privatised or multipayer system (like in Japan) so that more people can make their own decisions about how much to spend on their own healthcare?

Because the people of Britain want the NHS, which has served them very well for some 6 decades, to continue to serve them. They have made the 'spending decision'; they pay their taxes, elect their representatives and expect them to run things properly to the benefit of all.

The Japanese system is a huge improvement on (e.g.) the US health insurance free-for-all (which paradoxically is not only not free, but more costly (2.5 times the OECD average) than any other developed nation's health care system), but its system of different insurance schemes with different charges depending on where you work and/or where you live, puts it still way behind the NHS - at least until the Tories started trying to run it into the ground.

To think you are getting free health care is naive at best.

To think that would be naive, yes. No one thinks that. Brits are p'd off at May and her band of merry thugs because they are not delivering the free-at-point-of-use health service that the average Brit is paying hefty taxes to support.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The Japanese system is a huge improvement on (e.g.) the US health insurance free-for-all... but its system of different insurance schemes with different charges depending on where you work and/or where you live, puts it still way behind the NHS

Can you elaborate on exactly what you mean by this? On ever metric of healthcare outcomes and quality of care measured by the OECD and other organisations, from hosptial beds per capita, to deaths from preventable diseases, to cancer survivability, to infant mortality, to life expectancy, to cost control, to wait times, and overall coverage, Japan beats the NHS hands down on every single metric.

One of the biggest problems with the NHS is that it has become the new state religion in Britain. People just believe in it without examining the evidence carefully. Nearly every European country that runs a multi-payer/Japanese style system also gets better outcomes. Countries like Taiwan which have only recently entered the first world and have had to design a healthcare system from stratch have carefully examined every system and have also rejected the universal single payer NHS system in favour of a public/private hybrid multipayer system.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@M3M3M3

The idea that the NHS is a 'state religion' is something trotted out by those who are ideologically opposed to it.

The problem with the NHS at the moment stems fromthe lies and broken promises from this government who has members I sense are ideologically opposed to it.

The problem is lack of funding, not the system itself which the vast majority of the people of the UK support and not in the way of blind faith. The argument that the system is now financially unsupportable is again, trotted out by those ideologically opposed to it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Jimizo

The idea that the NHS is a 'state religion' is something trotted out by those who are ideologically opposed to it.

Perhaps, but what else can you call it when you are faced with one of the consistently poorest performing healthcare systems in Europe and a population who are unjustifiably proud of it for some reason? There is definetly something wrong with this. I fully support public spending on healthcare, but a bad system is just a bad system. Top down government controlled universal single payer systems are not the most efficient. The UK should move toward more of a Japanese style system, or better yet a French model where you have non-profit insurance, price setting by the state, and private investment in the form of clinics and hospitals (and not these ridiculous PFI contracts where the government takes all the costs while private companies run away with the profits).

The problem with the NHS at the moment stems fromthe lies and broken promises from this government who has members I sense are ideologically opposed to it.

But it's not just at the moment is it? Year after year the NHS suffers from problems which we just don't see in more streamlined and efficient systems in places like France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland etc. These systems all followed the UK's lead in creating their public systems, but they were able to design them more efficiently after seeing some of the problems. I think it's now time for the NHS to swallow its pride and follow their lead.

The problem is lack of funding, not the system itself which the vast majority of the people of the UK support and not in the way of blind faith. The argument that the system is now financially unsupportable is again, trotted out by those ideologically opposed to it.

The problem is the waste, mismanagement, unnecessary administration and other inefficiencies which inevitably creep into any system which is completely controlled by the government without outside checks and balances (like insurance or private investment). Finland spends less per capita on healthcare than the UK and they have far better outcomes. Same goes for Italy and Spain. Japan spends just slightly more than the UK but they get dramatically better results for their money.

If the UK is going to build a better system, I really think they need to start over and redesign the whole thing from the ground up. I would see this as a great opportunity, but at the same time I fully understand why so many people (perhaps yourself included) don't want to even entertain this idea if there is even a 1% chance that it might lead to an American style system of for-profit insurance system (especially after Brexit). I just don't think putting more money into an inefficient system will help as much as people think.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It would be idiotic to say that efficiencies and improvements couldn’t be made to a massive leviathan like the NHS. But the Conservatives have for a long time wanted to introduce a two tier system bolstered by for profit health insurance and This crisis has been brewing for years due to constant degrading underfunding in a largely successful plan to render the NHS unsustainable and unfit for purpose. Money and a change of government are the answer and the sooner the better. If the U.K. government continues to handle Brexit in the way it has we could conceivably have that change later this year.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The amount that British tax payers put into the NHS has increased over the years, but successive governments don't seem to have matched that increase. I work for the NHS in Scotland where we have a separate NHS... it has it's problems, but pales into insignificance compared to what's happening in England and Wales. They seem to have a totally different structure than we have up here, so maybe that's why we haven't been hammered as badly.

As for making people pay for health care in the UK... why? If you can afford it go private, but for the majority of Britons we love the NHS. There's also a problem of massive payouts thanks to ambulance chasing lawyers.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There is no open sesame or magic money tree that will provide health care.

I foolishly decided as a teen to buy a powerful motorcycle to circumvent London's traffic issues.

It cost me a hip, an acetabular fracture to both the socket and joint. I was able to function with pain killers because I could not afford the time off. 

I had the operation in Japan, and paid accordingly, both hip and knee. I was has a consultation within three days, and the operation was completed within 7 weeks.  

The NHS was unable to even provide access to a consultant within six months.    

No government can or will be able to 'ring fences' health care, it is a matter of revenue in accordance to mutual concessions and if necessary compromises.

I put 10% of my earning into a fund and also take out insurance. Once bitten twice shy.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Can you account for this piece in The Scotsman

Damning report lays bare scale of problems in NHS Scotland...

https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/damning-report-lays-bare-scale-of-problems-in-nhs-scotland-1-4596651

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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