Thursday, February 25, 2010

400 dead in Britain

Britain has suffered a terrible tragedy, with 400 dead. It doesn't look like it's over yet.

The tragedy? It's National Health Service:

Patients were routinely neglected or left “sobbing and humiliated” by staff at an NHS trust where at least 400 deaths have been linked to appalling care.

An independent inquiry found that managers at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust stopped providing safe care because they were preoccupied with government targets and cutting costs.

You get more of what you measure. You get less of what you don't measure. In Britain, it seems that survival rates are not one of the metrics that is tracked. If it is, it's not given a very strong weighting.

It's striking what you hear in the country. In 1993, HillaryCare had hundreds of pages of punitive regulations aimed at Insurance Companies and Doctors. None were aimed at government bureaucrats. Bureaucrats who let this happen:
Staff shortages at Stafford Hospital meant that patients went unwashed for weeks, were left without food or drink and were even unable to get to the lavatory. Some lay in soiled sheets that relatives had to take home to wash, others developed infections or had falls, occasionally fatal. Many staff did their best but the attitude of some nurses “left a lot to be desired”.
I'm unimpressed with people who think that this couldn't happen here. We're not talking East Elbonia here, we're talking Great Britain. I mean, we keep hearing how we're supposed to be more like Europe, right? So how would government run health care here not lead to precisely this? It seems to have in Canada, where big shot politicians come here for treatment.

It's the Department of Motor Vehicles, running the hospitals.

Hat tip: Too Old To Work, Too Young To Retire.


Jeanette K. said...

I had no idea...

TOTWTYTR said...

Remember what I always say BP,

"National Health Care
The efficiency of FEMA
The compassion of the IRS"

People used to laugh when I said that. Not any more.

native said...

I am gonna' get slammed for this Borepatch!
But, here goes!

People get what they F*%#&n deserve, this means that if you "think" that you can get SOMETHING for NOTHING, then you will be in for a GREAT BIG SHOCK!

Nuff' Said Bout' the O'BAMA supporters!

Anonymous said...

And how many people do you think die in America because they cannot afford the treatment that they need... or even healthcare in the first place? Do these people deserve that fate? And how about this: the politicians, as well as federal, state and city employees all enjoy the same kind of healthcare plan that Obama is trying to get. You pay for the people who get state healthcare in taxes already, and I have friends in GB who think you are full of S#!% with your 400 negligence claims! I think that if you are going to have an opinion you should get off your A$$ and research it instead of believing everything Pat Robertson and Fox News say! That's right I know where your information comes from...

Borepatch said...

Anonymous, thanks for the kind words. Let me reply with a couple points, although I want want to expand this into a post.

1. Don't confuse Health Care with Health Insurance. In the UK, if you don't have the second (registered in the NHS), you don't get the first. That's simply not true here.

2. While it seems highly counter-intuitive, it's not at all clear that not having health insurance raises your mortality risk here in the USA.

3. Yes, politicians exempt themselves from what we the unwashed masses get. They do it all the time, most recently in the Obamacare proposal. One of the nastier bits of horse trading that went into that monstrosity was scaling back on taxing Union health care plans, although similar non-Union plans are taxed. Not nice.

4. Different people can have different opinions on how many deaths are attributable to NHS negligence. However, I used to live in the UK, and remember the press being simply full of this sort of story, all the time. I have a separate category for posts on this subject, and every single link comes from the UK press. Maybe the Mail and the Sun aren't your cup of tea, but it's hard to see them as in the Pat Robertson mold.

5. Speaking of living in the UK, one of our American friends over there was forced to leave the country because his work papers were messed up. No work papers, no health care, and so his wife and kids had to return to Florida for 3 months while it got sorted out. I was serious in my first point.

6. Nobody has explained to me how our health care under Obamacare would not turn into a 2-tier system - either officially (e.g. the UK) or unofficially (e.g. Newfoundland Premier coming to the US for surgery). Congress exempting itself while taxing "gold plated" insurance sure looks like they're planning on a 2-tier system for them.

I certainly understand the passions around the subject of health care reform - my parents are ardent supporters of the current plan. I am not. The reason is that the government (ours, theirs, someone else's) does not correct its deficiencies.

Quite frankly, there IS one American example where negligence in the health care system causes precisely the sort of result as described in the NHS hospital: the Veteran Administration hospital system - even Walter Reid, which is supposed to be a showcase hospital.

The Organs of the State do not self correct. You can't sue them, or fire them, and so all you get is a lot of chin pulling and tut tutting and "mistakes were made" muttering like you see over in the UK. No thanks.

I'd probably feel differently about the government's proposed takeover of 14% of our economy, if I didn't think that the government ultimately ruins everything it tries to run. No correction means that ultimately all you have is Entropy.

Borepatch said...

Oh, and one last thing, Anonymous. The source of my "full of s#!%" claim of 400 dead?

The UK Government Department of Health. The link was in my post.

Keith said...

I was staying at a friend's farm when the news came out. Friend was disgusted, and pointed out that if he got caught keeping animals like that, he'd go to prison for it.

The NHS was (maybe still is) exempt from health and safety at work and food hygine regs.

I went out with a nurse for a lot of years, and OMG! the shit they got, colleagues careers ended in their 20s with back injuries due to unsafe lifting practices, colleagues assaulted because the route to the nurses parking area was allong an un-lit road through woods, a colleague seriously sexually assaulted and suffered attempted rape by a patient who'd escaped from a secure psychiatric ward and got into the nurses' home. The girl was dragged before the hospital management and threatened to ensure she did not make any complaints or take things further.

Any private business that attempted that sh**e would be a honeypot for prosecuters, but not that wonderful NHS.