Sunday, September 3, 2017

Single Payer Health Care in Great Britain

Famed propagandist Paul Krugman has been militating for single payer, national health insurance since he was in diapers. Or so it seems. One recalls his unequivocal judgment about how well it all works in Great Britain.

He said:

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.

For those who care to test Krugman’s pronouncement against reality, we have a report from the British National Health Service itself. Hopefully these will not scare you.

The Sun reports the bad news:

NHS medics have made 145 serious blunders in three months, including performing laser surgery on the wrong eye.

Equipment was left inside patients 43 times, including a drill bit and a needle.

More than 100 serious blunders were made in just three months.

It adds the following:

In the year to April, there were 424 serious incidents recorded by the NHS including 178 operations on the wrong part of the body and even patients falling out of windows.

One lacks sufficient imagination to guess which medical procedure caused patients to fall out of windows.

Happily, the Sun provides us with a color chart:


Paul said...

When I see stuff like this, I always think "is this s a big number or not?" The NHS is huge, and covers a population of 70M people. How do these numbers compare to US or Canada or France on a per capita basis?

For example, I just looked at at a 2017 paper

" The incidence of RSB is between 0.3 to 1.0 per 1,000 abdominal operations"

RSB is retained surgical bodies, leaving something inside a patient basically.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Point well taken. I do not have statistics from USA. Of course, Krugman was saying that all the stories were false... which is obviously not true. Other studies of the NHS, reported on this blog, have suggested that over 30% of those who work in NHS hospitals would not want to be patients there. Of course, the statistics also include operating on the wrong part of the body, pulling the wrong tooth, etc. Again, I don't know how they stack up to the American statistics, but how many times do you think that surgeons here operate on the wrong part of the body. I have heard of one or two cases... but I suspect that it's not very commonplace.

Sam L. said...

Paullie "The Beard" Krugman did not pontificate on Charley Gard and the NHS.

James said...

Re: Lasing the wrong eye. Obviously they were busy creating a cynic;

CYNIC, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.

Walt said...

This story bugged me so much at the time that I started a drive to collect the money for this guy to have the op on the free market. In a second article, he said tbe NHS would only pay for him to take opioids that left him a zombie but not for the op that would correct what they messed up the first time, even refusing after he'd long stabilized his blood pressure.

Sam L. said...

I forgot to imitate Prof. Reynolds, and say "Charlie Gard could not be reached for comment."

Jack Fisher said...

"65,000 to 200,000 The minimum annual number of deaths due to medical accidents, according to hospital records
25,000 to 120,000 The minimum number of the above deaths due to negligence. That is, deaths caused by medical malpractice each year.
4:1 The ratio of injuries and deaths caused by malpractice in hospitals to that reflected in medical records. (In other words, many errors go unrecorded.) This means that the number of malpractice deaths and injuries is probably about four times that reflected in the numbers above."

I don't think single payer is the issue here.