The NHS doesn’t work, because like all Socialist enterprises it breaks the essential direct link between the people paying for the service and the people providing it.
This is bad for both the healthcare providers and the patients:
1. The NHS destroys respect for healthcare providers.
Every weekend, after 11:00pm, the local hospital’s Accident and Emergency department will be filled with drunken youths demanding their right to unlimited treatment for self-inflicted injuries.
Every night people call out the ambulance service because their child has a sniffle, or even to check if their chinese take away is safe to eat.
38% of all ambulance call outs do not actually need an ambulance:
Abuse of healthcare providers is an everyday occurrence:
Healthcare providers have no choice about who they treat, people can waste their time, abuse them and treat them as appallingly as they like and still demand their “right” to free treatment.
2. The NHS destroys respect for patients.
Patients can’t take their custom elsewhere and the health care providers are paid regardless of whether or not the patient is satisfied with the care they receive.
As a result serving patients takes second place to reducing costs and patients are put into:
MSRA ridden wards:
or left alone on trolleys in corridors.
They are denied life-saving expensive treatments
and sent home before they are well, to “free up beds”.
the treatment of high cost elderly patients is particularly poor:
Patients are treated not as valuable customers who pay everyone’s wages, but as an annoying distraction that uses up the budget.
3. “The NHS is bursting with administrative staff”
The one thing that state run bureaucracies are good at is empire building. Finding reasons why more non-productive underling bureaucrats are required in your fiefdom is a guaranteed way to rise up the bureaucratic hierarchy.
These people add no value to the customer, but considerable expense to an organization. That’s why they tend not to exist in the competitive environment of the private sector
In the total NHS workforce of over 1.5 million people, (only the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, the Wal-Mart supermarket chain and Indian Railways directly employ more people) less than 50% are clinically qualified.
We have such a blind love affair with the NHS that few ever question if it should be kept. But if anyone dares to, and anyone bothers to put forward any reasons, these are what we hear:
“But without the NHS the poor would be denied medical treatment and die”
The supporters of the NHS are keen to point out that without medical care people may die and since the poor cannot afford private medical cover they may die.
But this argument is easily seen as false, we also all need food, without food we will certainly die. We do not have a National Food Service (NFS) so why aren’t we all, and the poor in particular, starving to death?
The reason we don’t need a National Food Service is that the private sector does an amazing job of getting the things people need, to the locations people want, at the time they want them, at a price they can afford.
The poorest are given benefit money with which they buy their food from the provider who best meets their needs. Even from a socialist perspective you could just increase the amount of benefits given to the poor so that it allows for health care costs. Every man, woman and child in Britain pays over £1,500 a year for the NHS so there is plenty for the socialists to to re-distribute.
This is the type of system they have in Switzerland.
Swiss healthcare is widely recognised as amongst the best in the world. According to the latest OECD figures it outperforms the NHS on every metric: More doctors, nurses and hospital beds per person, more CT Scanners, MRI Scanners and acute beds, longer life expectancy, lower infant mortality, better survival rates for cancer, stroke and cardiovascular disease. Waiting lists are almost unheard of and surveys show that the Swiss system has one of the highest patient satisfaction levels of any country in the world.
Swiss health care is provided to everyone through a system of compulsory health insurance, much like our own car insurance system. Those that cannot afford to pay for it have their insurance subsidized or paid for entirely by the state. Working people do not find it hard to afford because, without the burden of a giant NHS to fund, the Swiss have one of the lowest tax rates in the world.
Patients are free to chose where they are treated from competing healthcare providers in what approximates to a free market. Service abuse is discouraged and good health encouraged by means of insurance excesses and no claims discounts.
“But Medical Costs Are So High That Only The Rich Will Be Able To Afford the Best Treatment”
There are a number of objections to this argument.
1) Private medical insurance can be taken out for high cost medical needs. Having your house burn down would be too expensive for most people to cope with, but by sharing the risk through insurance everyone can be protected for a relatively low premium.
2) If medical procedures are too expensive for all but the very rich then market forces will drive invention and entrepreneurship to lower the costs to the mass market. When the motor car, or the television or the mobile phone were first invented only the rich could afford them. In a free market the prices are driven down until they become affordable to the masses, because that is how the creators make the biggest financial return. If cars had been provided free of charge to everyone by the state regardless of cost, we would all still be driving around in very expensive Model T fords.
3) It is irrational to assume that everyone can have an unlimited “right” to resources. A right to have them from whom ? If a new cancer treatment was developed that required the patient to spend 6 months in a space station at a cost of £50 Million and every cancer patient is entitled to this, who will pay for it? The socialist solution is that if not everyone can have it then nobody will. The result is that more people die than was necessary and the market processes of innovation and costs reduction outlined above cannot start.
The NHS is a non-profit organization. Allowing the private sector to take over would mean money going to profits instead of it all being spent on healthcare.
The same argument could of course be applied to the establishment of a National Food Service. In socialist countries where the state has actually taken over the non-profit production and distribution of food we should therefore see this “better system” improving things for the people. What we actually see is customers travelling for miles to get to their nearest, dirty, food store. Here they queue for hours in the hope of buying a stale loaf of bread and half a turnip from a surly state employee.
(Personally I prefer the free market Tesco experience)
It should really be no surprise that our socialist medical system is closing local hospitals making customers travel for state convenience, has dirty wards, long queues for treatment and staff that treat patients like a nuisance. We are even being told what life choices to make to ensure that we don’t cost the state too much. We must take regular exercise, eat 5 a day, drink less than x units of alcohol a week, stop smoking and even stop wearing certain types of shoes, so that we are less of a burden on the state.
Every socialist experiment in history has tried to drive out the “waste” of private profit and each one has reduced the living standards of its people. Sometimes the process is delayed by the appropriation of natural resources of the confiscation of wealth created by others, but once left to its own productive capacity socialist enterprises consistently fail to deliver as much as their free market equivalents.
The best way to improve the quality and lower the cost of health-care in the UK would be to scrap the socialist NHS and let the free market get on with what it does best, meeting consumer needs in the most efficient and effective way possible.
The way to provide effective healthcare to the poor is to use a Swiss style system that ensures universal health care but does not break the vital financial relationship between service user and service provider. It is the financial relationship that ensures everyone is treated with respect and the system is run to maximize customer satisfaction (clinical results) and minimize financial waste.