Yes, we are aware that the National Health Service is currently the National Religion. To critique it, other than to insist that it is underfunded, is to have moved well beyond eating babies as a social faux pas. We even made the fact that we’ve hospitals, beds in them, nurses to tend them, a centrepiece of our hosting the Olympic Games. The rest of the world looked on in puzzlement, for they too all have hospitals, beds and nurses. Entirely contrary to the domestic insistence that the NHS is a Wonder of the World it’s something that near no one else has bothered to copy. On the grounds that it’s not actually very good:
Seven out of 10 stillbirths, neonatal deaths and babies brain damaged at birth could be avoided if the NHS provided better care during labour, a new government-funded report has found.
The inquiry identified lack of staff, the pressure on maternity units and a failure by midwives and obstetricians to follow guidelines as common factors in such events.
They are three of the main reasons why more than 1,100 of the 700,000 babies born every year in the UK either die during or soon after birth or suffer serious injuries to their brain, it found.
The conclusions, from the Each Baby Counts project, are intended to improve maternity care and reduce potentially avoidable deaths and serious harm to babies during birth and in their first seven days.
We all know that the NHS lies high up on those tables of how good a health care system is. But there’s a trick being played there. Rankings on a measure of something depend upon the choices made about how to rank what. The Commonwealth Fund ranking, as with the earlier WHO one, place great weight upon equity of financing, equity of access and equity of treatment. Equity might even be important in a health care system but the portion of the points system given to how good one is at actually treating people for things that can be treated is something like one eighth.
Which is why the NHS is high up such listings, because the one thing the NHS is really bad at – bad compared to other rich world health care systems – is “mortality amenable to health care.” That is, it’s just not very good at treating people for things which can be treated. No health care system is going to be very good at treating decapitation, it might have a chance at cancer, or pneumonia. And it’s the things a health care system might have a chance at which the NHS does badly.
Or, here, the not killing babies bit. All of which is why we need to abolish the NHS in order that we not continue to kill babies of course. As to what we do with it, well, perhaps something more locally financed, as with the Nordics. Along with low level copayments as with the Nordics. Definitely not the US system, clearly. But perhaps the Singapore division into privately funded health assurance and state such insurance? But definitely not this NHS which is actually a bad health care system except for that equality of the very small grave.