Thursday, 13 August 2009

The NHS may not be perfect but it is based on PRINCIPLE.

I put it to you, US conservatives, that your anger over Obama's healthcare proposals is a front. You are panicking because you are terrified things might actually change.

Writing a blog post is hardly leaping to action or changing the world, but I've been watching the healthcare debate in the US degenerate into mudslinging and lies, and now this article - bringing the NHS into it - has angered me a lot.

1) The NHS is nothing to do with American healthcare. Just because Obama wants everyone in America to have decent healthcare doesn't mean you need to crap your pants because it's "closer" to the NHS. If I built a two-storey house I would be "closer" to the moon, but I wouldn't be Neil f**king Armstong. Universal healthcare probably wouldn't work in the US and no-one, not even that big black bogeyman Obama, is asking for it.

2) Most of the shit you've heard about people dying on NHS waiting lists is, I suggest, from the 90s after years of under-investment by the Consverative Party (yes, they are the conservatie party in Britain, it's in the name). Labour investment over the last 12 years might have been inefficient but that doesn't mean it's been ineffective. The NHS works better now and people very rarely wait over a year for an operation.

3) "Rationing". Where does this word come from? We don't "ration" our healthcare. There aren't limitless resources, but we give everyone the same decent standard of care - not excellent, as in private hospitals for the rich, but certainly good - regardless of their ability to pay. We call it "free at the point of use" - the country is taxed to provide healthcare for all. And it's not just based on priciple for the hell of it - it actually works too.

4) Yes British people moan about the NHS, but there isn't a politician in the land who would suggest scrapping it, and not an electorate that would ever send one to Parliament.

5) While I'm sure there are lots of improvements that could be made, my only criticism of the NHS would be that more money (note, not less!) needs to be put into domestic care and ensuring patients are fed properly. I worked as a Domestic Service Assistant at Mid Essex Hospitals Trust and feeding a ward (or sometimes two) with hot food they they liked was virtually impossible (never mind the terrible pay). Elderly, disabled and mentally-handicapped patients often require extra time and attention to be fed properly, and in my view adding resources to this area would bring highly efficient results in improving patients' health.

That is all.


  1. two 2s, mate :P

    Good stuff, otherwise

  2. Touché! I stand corrected (said the man in the orthopaedic shoes) :)

  3. If national healthcare is so great, why do I have to wait FOUR MONTHS in New Zealand (Pop. 4 million) for a simple medical test?

  4. If private is so great, why don't you go private and free up the system for people who can't afford it? ;)

  5. On a more specific note...
    -Population isn't relevant, NZ has 4 million people and has a health service for 4 million people
    -NZ isn't a rich country
    -Waiting for a minor test or operation doesn't necessarily reflect on waiting times for important medical care. I ended up waiting 18 months in the UK for a tonsillectomy. (The original wait would have been 6 months ish, but they make you wait 4 of those months before telling you, and TWICE picked dates I couldn't do! Hardly efficient I'll agree.) However there's no way I'd have been waiting that long for a major operation or cancer treatment. And to be honest I'd rather it was that way round!