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AIP Column: The UK's National Health Service and the Ford Pinto School of Cost Analysis

The UK's National Health Service is racking up serious negligence claims filed by families of those patients who have suffered and/or died at the hands of its government run health care. Right now, those claims are at £2.2 billion (about $3.6 billion), with half of those claims come from maternity cases alone. With the government announcing that these claims to rise by 80% next year, you'd think they would re-think their government run system and possibly make changes as the Dutch did a few years ago to improve the system's quality and save lives. Well, the UK isn't going to do that. Instead, they're following the Ford Pinto school of cost analysis. Here's a portion:

Like all countries with government-run health care systems, the UK has a limited amount of resources to fund its National Health Service while trying to meet an infinite demand. The result is low quality care, waiting lists, and rationing. In most areas of health care, that means longer waiting lists for procedures and treatments. The NHS would love to be able to tell pregnant mothers that they will have to wait another three months to deliver, but of course they can't because nature won't wait.

Babies are born whether the hospital and its staff are ready for them or not, which means the hospitals must then make do with what they have for these laboring mothers, and that is a frightening prospect. According to a UK report, the maternity care in London was so understaffed that women were pushed into waiting rooms, where they were required to stand for hours while they were in labor because no beds were available. A 23-year-old was turned away by midwives only an hour before she delivered because there weren't any beds. She said she was reduced to going to the bathroom where she slapped herself to keep her mind off of her labor pain. Another in a labor and delivery room was horrified to see cockroaches in her "eating area." One woman said she "cried" when she walked into her room to find a filthy shower and paint peeling off the walls. This is in the United Kingdom, not some third-world nation.

Even worse than long waits and filthy labor and delivery rooms is that hospital maternity departments are so woefully understaffed that they must close their doors and send laboring women to other hospitals. These diversion procedures cost time, which increases the risks of tragedies happening. Rachel Canter was pregnant and in the late stages of labor with her third child, a boy she had planned to name Jake, when she was turned away from Barnet Hospital because its maternity department was so full they had to close their admissions. Rachel was told to go to Chase Farm Hospital, 20 minutes away. Unfortunately, baby Jake suffered breathing difficulties and died shortly after he was born. She blames the understaffing of the hospitals for her son's death. The midwives at Barnet Hospital concede that the facility has serious understaffing issues and report that the maternity department must close its doors three times a week as a result. You would think in 21st century Britain pregnant women would no longer get the very old line: "sorry, there is no more room at the inn."

Please read the rest, and if you have any thoughts, feel free to a comment either here or at AIP.


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Comments (18)

But..but...ObamaCare will b... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

But..but...ObamaCare will be based on the same system but will be "different". You know, "nuanced". Barry said so. And EVERYONE knows that what Barry says is fact. Just ask the main stream media.

You may as well get used to... (Below threshold)
Barack Obama:

You may as well get used to living in those kinds of conditions when you're going to be burdened with a child. Under my plan, the abortion clinics will be required to be kept nice and clean, though.

I have two friends in the U... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

I have two friends in the UK who talk about how great it is to get free health care. Yet, over the last year one of them had to wait from August of '08 until late March of '09 to get a procedure done that, while not life threatening, it did keep him out of work and the government supported him during the wait. It was long enough that his condition worsened and the surgery ended up being major. Then because the initial surgery wasn't enough to correct his problem, he needed another surgery a few weeks later. The reason he had to wait for the second one - it hadn't been "approved" yet. He just got back to work about three weeks ago.

The other person waited five months to see a doctor about her sleep apnea which ended up being diagnosed as severe, but they told her she would have to wait 6-8 months more for a CPAP machine because none were available. Her father finally gave her cash to buy one which was delivered to her within a week.

Still they tout how "everything is free".

What's happened is that this is what they're used to. They're conditioned to just accept what they get because it's "free". It's quite sad really.

The UK's National... (Below threshold)
jmc:
The UK's National Health Service is racking up serious negligence claims filed by families of those patients who have suffered and/or died at the hands of its government run health care. Right now, those claims are at £2.2 billion (about $3.6 billion), with half of those claims come from maternity cases alone.

That looks like an improvement. The claims against private health care in the United States, back in 2003 alone, was at 26 billion for the year.


Why do I now suspect a whole host of people will rationalize that part away very soon?

This situation, sounds a aw... (Below threshold)
plainslow:

This situation, sounds a awful lot like the VA hospitals (goverment run) that the Liberals complained about when GW was prez? Remember the horrid conditions just a few years back. But lets replicate it. That would make the people happy.

It sounds as though Nationa... (Below threshold)
pvd:

It sounds as though National Health care is disasterous for women.

jmc:You seem very ... (Below threshold)
pvd:

jmc:

You seem very update the minute with info. A couple of questions -

1. Under what conditions are you permitted to bring suit in England?
2. What is the maximum award?
3. Is England a "loser-pays" legal system that would discourage suits?
4. Are suits filed against individual doctors or the State?
5.. What percentage of suits in the US are related to pregnacy?

That's a start

1. Under what con... (Below threshold)
jmc:
1. Under what conditions are you permitted to bring suit in England? 2. What is the maximum award? 3. Is England a "loser-pays" legal system that would discourage suits? 4. Are suits filed against individual doctors or the State? 5.. What percentage of suits in the US related to pregnacy?

I'm afraid you'll have to do your own research if you want to start trying to rationalize away the fact that our private system had far more claims against it than Britain's.

He is not rationalizing awa... (Below threshold)
Staylor:

He is not rationalizing away any fact but is in fact pointing out that you have no fact at all, merely than two numbers that may or may not have any connection in reality.
The King of Suadi Arabia is very rich, I am not; thus I conclude that everyone in Saudi Arabia is wealthier than I am. This statement is as ridiculouse as the one you are trying to imply.
All of pvd's questions are valid and also must be matched with the coresponding fact that the population of the United States is roughly five times that of England's which means if these lawsuits are adjusted for population that the English healthcare system lost 18 billion relative to America's 26 billion in lawsiuts. But even that metric is not wholly accurate as the American system makes up a far larger amount of the GDP (14.26 trillion) than Britain's does of its own far smaller GDP (2.6 trillion). This adjustment would likley push the relative amount of lawsuit losses into an even greater unbalance for the UK's system.
But of course your intention here is not to have a sober debate an the amount of lawsiut losses acrued by two different healthcare systems.
Your intent was obviosly nitpick a tiny portion of the article while ignoring the rest; relate that tiny bit of information to an related piece of information; draw a conclusion completly out of thin air to discredit the article (Which as not arguing that worst part of socialized healthcare was not that Hospitals are sued more, but what they are sued for) with the implication of the wonderfullness of the socialized healthcare; and then run away with a preemtive dismissal of any counterargument to your feeble ploy. I believe that this could more simply be described as a Stawman.
Now go outside and play, the adults are talking.

"I'm afraid you'll have ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"I'm afraid you'll have to do your own research if you want to start trying to rationalize away the fact that our private system had far more claims against it than Britain's."

rationalize: to employ reason; think in a rational or rationalistic manner

Ah, I get it now.

In other words, "Don't ask me. I'm not interested in the facts or answering pertinent questions. I'm just here to accuse you in advance."

The morons who advocate soc... (Below threshold)

The morons who advocate socialized medicine,
do so because either it benefits them some
way financially or they've never experienced
socialized medicine.
I guess they need to have several members of
their family suffer the consequences of its'
incompetence to understand.

jmc- Here's the rese... (Below threshold)
24usmcr:

jmc-
Here's the research...In the United Kingdom (and most western democracies...except the USA) the loser pays in civil cases.
In the UK, punitive damages are awarded only when the amounts to be awarded are DEFINED BY STATUTE...

How ineffective must the trial lawyers' lobbyists in the UK be?

USA population- 300 million...UK population- 60 million (give or take a few)

This by way of explanation, not rationalization...you ought to try it some time...

The horrors of the Canadian... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

The horrors of the Canadian health care system:

http://www.denverpost.com/recommended/ci_12523427

In Canada the Provicial Gov... (Below threshold)
Speller:

In Canada the Provicial Governments run the Health Care. The Provincial Governments represent the Crown. Therefore the Crown runs the Health Care In Canada. In Canada it's almost impossible to sue the Crown or an agent of the Crown.

I'm sure it's similar in Britain.
We have the same Crown as our Head of State and the basis for our law.

He is not rationa... (Below threshold)
jmc:
He is not rationalizing away any fact but is in fact pointing out that you have no fact at all, merely than two numbers that may or may not have any connectioteon in reality.


Well first off he didn't point out anything. he asked questions. the "?" at the end is a good indication when confusion sets in.


The King of Suadi Arabia is very rich, I am not; thus I conclude that everyone in Saudi Arabia is wealthier than I am. This statement is as ridiculouse as the one you are trying to imply.

Uh, No. the King of Saudi is Rich because he has 10 billion dollars. Bill Gates has 40 Billion. Bill gates is therefore richer. That is how my logic was formulated. I took the logic Kim used and built upon it. To characterize it otherwise is to use a... strawman.

As I said, let the bullshit rationalizations begin:

First Kim makes a point (UK health care bad) 3 billion in claims. No timeline specified.

I then point out (using the exact same standard of logic that kim uses) that the U.S. by that reasoning is much worse (26 billion) timeline specified--one year only, 2003.


Suddenly I am guilty of not making a nuanced argument and am accused of making a strawman.

of course any idiot that makes that argument must then realize that if I am guilty of a strawman, then I am guilty of the strawman that Kim formulated as a standard of logic. and that then makes her argument (which I agree was a stupid strawman) null and void.

By pointing out that U.S. health care had 26 billion in claims filed against it (in one year alone) I merely demonstrated she is going to have to do better than that, if she is to make the argument that the public option is so much worse based on the dollar amount of claims filed against it in britain, because of the fact that that number is exceeded by such a large amount in the U.S.

So you are right the adults are talking. Now please quit pretending to be an adult and leave the room.

Well first off he ... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
Well first off he didn't point out anything. he asked questions. the "?" at the end is a good indication when confusion sets in.

That question mark schtick is so original. And a question mark at the end of a sentence indicates that a question has been asked, as badly as your sarcasm would like it to mean something else.

Uh, No. the King of Saudi is Rich because he has 10 billion dollars. Bill Gates has 40 Billion. Bill gates is therefore richer.

Uh, no. They are rich because society has put a dollar amount on their "net worth". You aren't addressing anyone with your so-called logic, jmc. You're just trying to sound like you have a brain.

Suddenly I am guilty of not making a nuanced argument and am accused of making a strawman.

No, you're just guilty of trying to sound like you know what you're talking about, not suddenly at all.

The healthcare in the U.K. is in dire need of reform just as the U.S., but unfortunately we are being forced into an healthcare system controlled by the govt. An example would be the deceit of dropping hmo prescription meds into categories of member, non-member, and regular price. Members get the best price, non-members get astronomical prices, and someone making a purchase for the same drug gets the regular, and lowest price.

If enough people get a look at cost and coding for such "benefits", they would see right away how they are being scammed into believing the govt needs to take of us so we can survive. But if enough people are suckered into this system, they will also submit to trusting the govt with which cures are available and which are out of reach.

Like all countries... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:
Like all countries with government-run health care systems, the UK has a limited amount of resources to fund its National Health Service while trying to meet an infinite demand.

i.e. healthcare rationed by government. The quality of your care is dictated by the quality of your political connections.

jmc: You're insinuating th... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

jmc: You're insinuating that Kim needs to make a better argument in relation to her claim. You were asked some pertinent questions in relation to your own claim. Care to follow your own rules and make a better argument?

I doubt it.




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