h1. NHS Efficiency

p(meta). 9 November 2011

I hesitate to link the the Telegraph and pass advertising money its way, but it’s worth noting that even it, a Tory paper, is carrying today’s news that the NHS has yet again been found to be one of the best healthcare systems in the world.

It is worth reading the article. Healthcare in Britain has “among the fastest access to GPs, the best co-ordinated care, and … the fewest medical errors” of the countries surveyed, and yet it does this with “per capita health spending … the third lowest of the 11, at £2,170 per head, compared with £3,200 in Switzerland and £4,950 in the US”.

So the NHS provides some of the best healthcare at one of the lowest costs per person, and yet the Tories and the Liberal Democrats are busy telling us that it’s not good enough and moving us to a US-style system - a system which, it must be remembered, has worse care and costs more than twice as much per person.

Of course, the government likes to say that they’re not privatising anything, but this is a lie so blatant that they should be ashamed. They have already paid American firm McKinsey and other private consultants nearly six million pounds for advice on how to carve the NHS up between competing private firms. Earlier this year McKinsey was revealed to have been working with German company Helios in taking over selected NHS hospitals.

So there is privatisation. How is it not? ‘Selected’ hospitals? Isn’t that the ‘cherry picking’ that the government promised us wouldn’t happen? How many operations could the money the government is paying to McKinsey and other American firms pay for? The sad fact is that evidence shows we can’t trust anything this government tells us about their NHS reforms at all, but then this is a party that promised us ‘no top-down reorganisation’ shortly before undertaking the largest reorganisation of the NHS in its history, and a cowardly coalition party that will be remembered for facilitating the destruction of this country’s best asset.

For now, let’s be thankful for the fact that here in the UK we’re more likely to get prompt specialist attention than in 16 other OECD countries. Remember these golden days because they’ll be gone once healthcare in the UK is all about profits.