During the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics we watched an absurd, choreographed paean to the greatness of the Britain’s National Health Service.
Undoubtedly, Paul Krugman thrilled to the spectacle.
Hadn’t the famed monomaniac told us that all is well with the NHS?
In Krugman’s now-famous words:
In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false.
Democrats want the upcoming election to hinge on the cost of Sandra Fluke’s birth control pills. In Britain the government-run NHS has just issued guidelines for childbirth designed to lower the cost of childbirth.
The Daily Mail reports today:
Family doctors are being told to try to talk women out of having Caesareans and very strong painkillers during birth to save the NHS money.
New guidelines drawn up for GPs urge them to encourage women to have natural labours with as little medical help as possible.
But for many women the prospect of giving birth without the painkillers is unthinkable.
And critics have said the move has been made without any thought for the women themselves.
The guidelines also remind doctors to tell women to consider having their babies outside hospital in midwife-run units or in their own homes.
Caesareans cost the NHS around £1,200 a time while epidurals – anaesthetic injections into the spine – are around £200.
The guidelines state that, as well as being expensive, they both slow down a mother’s recovery after labour and impede breastfeeding.
The advice does not suggest women should not be given any painkillers, such as gas and air which are commonly used.
However, it specifically tells doctors to try to reduce the numbers given epidurals and other anaesthetic injections into the spine.
The advice – drawn up by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Midwives and the National Childbirth Trust – has enraged campaigners and some senior doctors.
NHS decisions are made by an advisory board, not by women themselves.
If the term “war on women” means anything, we see it in action in the new NHS policies on childbirth.