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Guest Post by Marcus Stead >

It’s Time for an Honest Debate About the Provision of Healthcare …

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Hi,

It’s Time for an Honest Debate About the Provision of Healthcare

By MARCUS STEAD

We need to face up to reality about the National Health Service. For too long, it has been politically taboo to question whether the current model is either the best way of providing healthcare, or its sustainability in the long term.

William Beveridge
William Beveridge, the true founder of the NHS.

The Labour Party likes to portray Aneurin Bevan as the founder of the NHS. This is not the case. In fact, it was a key recommendation of the Beveridge Report of 1942, in which William Beveridge, a Liberal economist, outlined social reforms that were to be brought in at the end of World War II.

Both the Conservative and Labour parties agreed in principle to implement the report’s recommendations, regardless of which party won the first general election after the war (it came in 1945, and was won by Labour).

Beveridge’s vision was of a National Health Service run through local health centres and regional hospital administrations. In other words, they were to be non-political and free from government interference. But in the years immediately after 1945, Labour’s Minister of Health, Aneurin Bevan, had other ideas.

Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin Bevan, whose role in the creation of the NHS continues to be absurdly overstated.

Bevan, a temperamental, undiplomatic, extreme left winger, loathed by many inside the Labour Party, fought hard in Cabinet to abandon Beveridge’s vision in favour of a centralised structure of 14 regional boards appointed by the Minister of Health and local management committees.

From that moment onwards, the NHS became a political football, and it has remained so ever since. Bevan, knowing full well the implications of the seed he was sowing, didn’t allow facts and evidence to get in the way of his ideological dogma. Sir Harold Webbe, the Conservative leader on London County Council, was unhappy about local government’s role in the NHS being removed, and said of Bevan, “He is so full of his own importance that he is prepared to pit his knowledge against the accumulated experience of this council, which is to be butchered to make a Welshman’s holiday.”

Yet even Beveridge’s vision for an NHS contained three major assumptions that sounded quite reasonable at the time, but subsequently turned out to be utterly incorrect:

  1. As people became healthier, demand on the NHS would decrease.
  2. The demographics of society would remain roughly the same.
  3. The NHS could be paid for from ‘the stamp’, now known as National Insurance.

The reality has been utterly different. Huge medical advances in the last 60 years have resulted in significantly increased life expectancy, albeit with the assistance of ongoing care and drugs, which come at a price.

With the exception of the Callaghan government of 1976-79, all administrations have overseen vast increases in real-terms spending on the NHS, as demographics shifted, demand increased, and medical advances continued. By the late 1980s, National Insurance could just about cover pensions and contributory benefits, with the occasional bit of help from general taxation, but it was certainly no longer in a position to fund the NHS.

There is some evidence that Margaret Thatcher understood the magnitude of the problem as long ago as the early 1980s, but she was advised not to handle the ‘hot potato’.

The time has come to end the mawkish obsession with the NHS model, which was epitomised at the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony by the sight of nurses jumping up and down on beds. Britain’s cancer and stroke survival rates are significantly down on where they should be for an apparently rich country, and there is a lack of choice on the part of the patient.

It is easy to see why the Labour Party is so ideologically attached to the NHS. It frequently misleads people into believing it is a Labour creation, and is one of very few things in this country that can in any way, shape or form be described as a Labour success story.

The quasi-religious reverence with which the Labour Party treats the NHS, and the way in which it tries to make bogeymen of anyone who questions it in any way, is holding back a full, honest and frank debate about how we provide sustainable healthcare for the next 50 years.

When they hear any form of criticism of the NHS, their default position is always to make crude comparisons with the system in the USA, one they rarely know very much about, and are quick to point to horror stories within, while conveniently ignoring the numerous deaths in the NHS due to poor hygiene, lengthy waiting times and medical negligence. Doctors and nurses themselves are treated as saints to be revered, rather than tax-funded employees who deserve praise and respect when they do well, but should not be above criticism when they fall short of certain standards.

It is as though no other countries or healthcare systems exist elsewhere in the world. Why can’t we try to learn lessons from Singapore, which from a very low starting point in the 1960s, has managed to create and sustain one of the very best health systems anywhere on earth? Or what about continental Europe, where many countries operate with a mix of public and private healthcare, with compulsory insurance schemes using various models?

This debate should have begun at least 20 years ago, but there are signs that we are approaching the point where the current NHS system is unsustainable. Sooner or later, we will have to face up to this impending reality. Is it not better to do so while the hospitals and GP surgeries are just about working?

To see the original of this article CLICK HERE
The Labour party has never since the NHS’s inception missed an opportunity to lay claim to having founded the NHS and attributing it to Aneurin Bevan. As with so much else that seems to emmanate from socialists it is a misleading and dishonest claim.
Clearly William Beveridge drew up his report the background of which can be read CLICK HERE
Churchill’s wartime government endorsed the 300 page 1942 report and in 1943 Churchill gave an undertaking that whatever government was elected after the w ar they would impliment the report, having gained the undertaking of both Labour & The Liberals.
Unfortunately the task fell to Labour and the deeply unpopular Aneurin Bevan was tasked with the job of implementation – whther of his own volition or under the influence of his openly Communist wife, Jenny Lee, he immediately campaigned to change the structure of the NHS as clearly laid out by Beveridge – it was thus that Bevan converted the brave concept of the NHS placing it under direct control of the Government and the management of 14 separate Health Boards.
Thus began the unravelling of the economist Sir William Beveridge’s report and the conversion of the NHS to being a political football – the seeds of the NHS’s problems of today were sewn by this meddling and ineptitude of Aneurin Bevan and although evelcted from a humble background in a Welsh Valleys Constituency he rarely returned and eventually died of stomach cancer on his farm in the home counties!
More of this background can be found if you CLICK HERE
Unpalatable as Socialists may find the truth it is worthy of note that the implementation of the Beveridge Report was a cross party decision and the ineptitude of that implementation and the problems of today were as a result of the ineptitude of Aneurin Bevan his personal ambitions endorsed by his socialist colleagues!
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Greg Lance-Watkins
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I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving my wife Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

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The British NHS – vs – Provision In The USA

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The British NHS – vs – Provision In The USA

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Hi,
HAI Prevention 01
we have all listened endlessly to the worst aspects of the NHS from the media and due to the crass ineptitude of Aneurin Bevan’s implementation of Lor Beveridge’s Report, which laid out the plan for the NHS that all three parties had agreed must not be a political football – to that end it was agreed that whichever party was elected they would implement the ‘Plan’.

Sadly Labour won and were thus charged with the task of implementing the launch of The NHS and unfortunately Aneurin Bevan was appointed Minister of Health and he just couldn’t resist tampering with the plan.

Aneurin Bevan’s wife was the openly stated Communist Jennie Lee and that became all too obvious when Beveridge’s initial plan had been that ‘The NHS would deliver a health service, free at the point of need, funded by the tax payer by contribution’ A concept that was soon defiled by Aneurin Bevan such that it is now more commonly portrayed as ‘a health service, free at the point of need, provided by the Government’.

HEART 01
This has led to it being all too clearly a life style service delivering whatever buys the most votes, with large areas of privatisation introduced by the Labour Party, through the back door, with a system of Private Public Finance deals selling off thwe long term viability of the NHS in return for showy short term ‘schemes’.

All too often long waits are an inherent part of the service for routine matters, with waiting times of 18 months or so for some medical appointments.

Although waiting times are considered too long in A&E emergency needs are treated incredibly quickly – though imn the one part of the service under the control of Labour the situation is considerably worse, Wales currently has the worst delivery of any of Britain’s EU Regions.

That said the NHS is still a shinning beacon to much of the world, in fact to almost all of the world and is used as a training ground for both nurses and doctors from all over the world.

One mistake often made is to claim the NHS is Free -sadly not, the NHS is Britain’s largest employer and absorbs a huge slice of the national Tax pie – hardly free!

Consider some thoughts on the subject from America:

Damn, the “Rolls Royce isn’t moving fast enough.”

This is how Jim Edwards, an American-British dual citizen, characterizes actually having to wait to be seen by a highly-trained medical professional in his outstanding first-person account of NHS treatment.

The context here is that the NHS just released its most recent stats on accident and emergency room waiting times. The headline number is that 84% of patients are seen within four hours. In the UK, this is regarded as a huge failure — the standard the NHS is supposed to meet is 95% of patients in four hours. The UK media went into a fury about it, and some hospitals have begun postponing and rescheduling some non-emergency procedures in order to get those waiting times down.In the US, having sat in many an ER waiting room for hours at a stretch, the idea of a hospital seeing nearly 9 out of 10 patients in four hours would be regarded as a miracle. Bear in mind that within that four-hour period the NHS doctors are triaging patients: If you get hit by a bus, you’re going to see someone instantly. If you broke a finger because you fell over while drunk at the pub, you’re probably going to wait at the back of the line. It’s not like people are literally bleeding to death while they wait for attention (although the British media loves it when it finds individual cases where that has happened).

So my overall impression is that currently, the Brits’ complaints that the NHS isn’t hitting that 95% mark is akin to saying, “This Rolls Royce isn’t moving fast enough!”

Amen, Brother.This article is worth reading carefully and in full, because it perfectly frames the greatest weakness of the American approach to health care: there is no system; literally we have a non-system of health care. Nothing is coordinated; the all-mighty $ is the only unifying logic to our so-called “system.”

Because there is an actual system, patients experience significantly less aggravation with accessing health care. Paperwork?

There is a load of paperwork for patients in the US. This is easily the worst aspect of US healthcare — the billing paperwork. If you’ve ever had any health issue that required more than a simple doctor visit, you will know that it precipitates a seemingly never-ending series of forms, bills, and letters. You can be paying bills months, years later. And it’s almost impossible to correct a billing error. It’s stressful. I developed an intense hatred for health insurance companies in the US because of this.There was close to zero paperwork in the NHS. I filled in a form telling my doc who I was and where I lived, and that was pretty much it. The only other paperwork I got was a letter in the mail reminding me of my next appointment. They sent me a text reminder, too, which no American doc has ever done. It was incredibly refreshing.

But, wait, the absence of insurance forms must — in some bizarre way — make UK doctors of lower quality. Well, not really.

The treatment from my primary care GP was the same in the UK as it was in the US. I’ve had great care from 95% of doctors I’ve ever seen in both the US and the UK. Doctors are doctors. They’re mostly really nice and good at what they do. The system that pays them doesn’t seem to make them better or worse.

I won’t reproduce the entire story here, because I want you to read it, but I will end with a reminder that this patient — who underwent specialist treatment at a hospital for fear he was going deaf — paid ZERO at point-of-use for his care. (Yes, of course, he paid payroll tax, but he probably paid much less than you pay in Medicare tax and premiums and cost-sharing and co-pays and deductibles and time wasted filling out forms and time wasted waiting for inefficient medical practices to see patients.)

So how much did all this NHS care cost me? £0. Nothing. Zero. I paid not a penny for some top-notch healthcare. There is no such thing as a “free,” of course, but the per-capita cost of healthcare in the UK (paid by the government via tax collections) is generally lower than the US, according to the World Health Organization. Americans spend $8,362  per capita on healthcare annually, the Brits spend $3,480. Here is a breakdown:NHS prices

Doctor visit: £0
Specialist: £0
Diagnostic test: £0
MRI: £0
Total: £0
Typical US prices*

Doctor visit: $100
Specialist: $150
Hearing test: $72
MRI: $1,000
Total: $1,372 (Total payable by the patient in cash, or typically 90% from insurance and 10% as a patient copay. Prices taken from Healthcare Bluebook.)

To me, those US prices seem pretty low — and remember, if Jim was uninsured in the US, he’d pay whatever the hell the hospital wanted to charge him for each of those things. You know, “chargemaster” and all.Jim’s final verdict? US or UK?

The bottom line: I prefer the NHS to the American private system. It’s a little more inconvenient in terms of appointment times, but due to the fact that it is free, has no paperwork, and the treatment on the day is super-fast, the NHS wins. That Rolls Royce is moving at a pretty decent clip.And, of course, there is the small matter of the fact that the NHS covers everyone equally, whereas Americans get care based on their ability to pay, leaving tens of millions with only minimal access to care. (Obamacare is changing that, but it’s leagues behind the NHS if you’re comparing them by the standard of universal full-service coverage.)

Americans think they have the best healthcare in the world. Take it from me, a fellow American: They don’t.

As a dual American-European citizen myself, who has accessed the UK NHS on several occasions while living in London, I would completely agree with Jim. And it’s really not just about the money (although it feels great to know that a single trip the ER won’t rob you of $1,000) — as this narrative points out. It’s also about the forms, the frustration and wasted time. Over a lifetime of dealing with Aetna or Cigna and profit-driven hospital billing departments, how much time do you waste on the 1-800 number? How much of that time could you be spending drinking a beer? Talking to a loved one? Taking a nap? Walking in the park?The American health care non-system is a disaster — this article is a good reminder of how a decent society handles things in a more civilized way. Please share widely.

To view the original article CLICK HERE
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Regards,
Greg_L-W.
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 Please Be Sure To
& Link to my My Blogs
To Spread The Facts World Wide To Give Others HOPE
I Have Been Fighting Cancer since 1997 & I’M STILL HERE!
I Have Cancer, Cancer Does NOT Have Me
I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.
If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms in 1998 see The TAB at the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer ….< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order, many linked to specific blog postings.
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Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins

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