For many years the Tories have attacked the NHS as unsustainable. “A bottomless pit into which no amount of money will ever be enough”. 

 

Since its inception the NHS has been popular and effective.  It has functioned at lower cost per capita than any comparable system.  In international comparisons it has scored poorly on one factor only, waiting lists. Other countries do not have waiting lists, at least not for everyday treatments.  When working in the Dutch system I experienced a theatre sister ask a surgeon “Dr X (a GP) has phoned he has a patient that has a problem that may need surgery, When can you see him”.  The surgeon replied, “My next clinic is on Thursday tell him to contact my secretary and book an appointment”.  The man was seen and did need an operation he was told that he could be admitted as soon as he could make arrangements re, work and family.

 

Waiting lists are the barometer of funding.

 

We are told that it is no use spending more on the NHS as we have an aging population and new treatments are very expensive.  We have in fact an aging population but that population is generally healthier than they would have been in the past. 

 

Consider these facts.

 

In the 1960s many people had surgery, gastrectomy, for peptic ulcer.  At any time there might be two or three such patients in any surgical ward.  The operation performed these days would cost around £30k and require around seven to ten days in hospital. Research has since shown that peptic ulcer is generally caused by an infection of helicobacter. All that is now required is a simple test followed by a short course of an inexpensive pills.

 

Again in the 1960s, a patient with an enlarged prostate gland, a condition that affects 70% of elderly men, needed Prostatectomy.  Again treated by surgery, prostatectomy, again seven to ten days in hospital so probably similar cost.  This has been reduced to a procedure that is performed via an endoscope, (often referred to as ac camera), requiring admission for of a day. Or two.

 

The latest on this is that a newer procedure can reduce this to day surgery not involving any expensive time in hospital.

 

Thirdly. Road deaths in the 1960s occurred at the rate of around 7000 per year. For each death one would expect 13 serious injuries.  A road death is defined as a death occurring within 12 months of an injury incurred in a road crash.

 

The current rate of road deaths is 1700 per year. For each death there are ten serious injuries.  Injuries resulting from vehicle collisions are amongst the most expensive conditions to treat, frequently involving admission to ITU. Changes in drinking habits and safer cars plus seat belts have reduced the cost to the NHS enormously not to mention the benefits in terms of pain and grief.

 

Scanners, whilst expensive to buy and run, offer great benefits of accurate diagnosis that allow appropriate treatment to be commenced sooner with less time and money being wasted on lengthy investigations.

 

So why is the NHS short of money?  Simple, it is being spent on wasteful pseudo-market administration under which Clinical commissioning groups took over from a perfectly workable system under which G.P.s refered patients to a consultant directly. I and many others believe the CCG system (son of the internal market),  is designed to cock up the system until the pubic demand that the government fix the NHS whereupon the Government will offer us expensive private insurance and private healthcare.

 

Be in no doubt the Tories are privatising the NHS.  If you are one of those people who believe that healthcare costs will be comparable with the price of a queue jumping policy available now, think again. Compulsory insurance always cost vastly more than the same package would cost if bought voluntarily.

 

Further, no mater that you have insurance if you are diabetic or suffer from have any on-going health problem they will become uninsurable or so expensive as to make it effectively so. Healthcare costs are the main cause of bankruptcy in the USA, as tax is in the UK.

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© Michael Boulton