Saturday, November 28, 2009

Brit's to NHS: "Heal our Hospitals!!!"

Last week (the hospital) Basildon was condemned by inspectors who found “blood-spattered” walls and filthy conditions...
The Sunday Telegraph

When my friends who support (for all intents and purposes) a nationalized health care system in America via a single payer system they repeatedly cite the "better outcomes" in countries who have already so wisely adopted such a system. Well not so fast.

We have all heard anecdotal horror stories about Canadian and British patients, whose countries that have gone whole hog into socialized medicine, but we also hear how happy most Brits and Canadians are with their health system. Rich Canadians have the advantage of a pay for service system just south of the border. Rich Brits have Germany nearby. The average Brit however is stuck with very low standards and by all accounts they are getting lower.

Shamed: the top hospitals with the worst death rates

(recent) disclosures have cast further doubt on Labour’s flagship foundation hospitals’ policy, which has been under attack since appalling standards of care at Mid Staffordshire Hospital were exposed in March.

Last night patients’ groups demanded that ministers carry out a “total overhaul” of the system, which they said was “failing” patients. Investigations by this paper have found:

- Eight foundation hospitals are failing so badly that they have breached the terms of their licence to operate and are being placed under close supervision by the NHS watchdog, Monitor.

- The leading children’s hospital Alder Hey has been issued with a “warning notice” for breaching basic infection standards and putting vulnerable young patients at risk of killer infections – just two weeks after the trust declared itself “the best in the country”.

- Three ambulance services have also been issued with the same notices after failing to properly decontaminate equipment, or provide clean services for the most high-risk patients.

- Bosses of foundation trusts with high death rates have awarded themselves bumper pay rises. Chief executives at the eight foundation trusts with the highest death rates in 2007-08 had average salary rises of 15 per cent when their institutions took on the coveted status.

It is not a scare tactic to declare that this is what is in store for America if we allow the health care system to become nationalized over the next few years. We have heard similar stories as this in regards to our own Veterans hospitals. I think the most appalling aspect of these revelations out of Britain is the rewards the administrators are bestowing on themselves as their hospitals fall apart.

I fully acknowledge that America has a serious problem with the health care delivery system as it is currently instituted. I absolutely worry about my children who will soon be entering a world without good job prospects and therefore very poor health insurance options. But a wholesale conversion to a government take over (this is what President Obama and the core Democrats really desire) will destroy the parts of the system that are unparalleled and replace them with something like what is described above.

This is one issue where tinkering around the edges is justified - following the Hippocratic Oath of first do no harm. There are other solutions out there. Right now the powers that be will not give any of them a fair hearing simply because the 60 year obsession to nationalize our health care is so very, very close to reality for the Democrats. It seems that a majority of Americans know instinctively to oppose a top down one-size fits all solution. The question now is will Congress be listening?