Lots on this everywhere. At the bottom I have links to some of the posts I have read recently.
I am motivated to write because of the rubbish that some in the USA are saying about the NHS. It is striking to note that apparently as a proportion of GDP we pay approximately half what Americans do for health care, that we have better hospital infection statistics and are ranked a lot better by the WHO. See this comment:
I looked up this info a few days ago for someone so I have it to
hand Lisa. The UK HAI (hospital acquired infection) rates seem to be
lower than the UK ones nowadays
The link to the US rates is to a wikipedia article but there is a
ref in that to the original source for you to check out the figures.
and from this comment:
seems like incredible value to me. The end result is that we have a
longer life expectancy than US citizens, and fewer of our babies die in
infancy (actually fewer babies die in infancy in Cuba than in the US,
which is a fair indictment of your system). The WHO rated us 18th and
the US 37th in terms of the healthcare we provide to ALL our citizens.
As a Methodist Minister I see a lot of the NHS. We have a lot of elderly people in the Methodist Church and so, more than most outside the NHS, minister see a lot of the results: visiting people in hospital, when they are ill, when they are getting better, when they are talking about it after or when we are doing their funerals.
I will not talk about people I minister to, I don’t think is is right or fair. But I will say that many of them need the NHS a lot and that most of the time they get excellent care from the local doctors surgeries and from the NHS. In a huge majority of cases they are very happy with the care they get.
For those who are hearing about how bad our system is a few anecdotal family stories:
One example would be my mother-in-law. Just over two years ago just after moving to Raunds she had a heart attack (83 at the time). I went round just after midnight and called the ambulance. They were there within 15 minutes and the operator stayed on the line the whole time til they arrived and confirmed with them that they were on the scene. During that time the operator was regularly checking with mum via me how things were and giving helpful advice how making her more comfortable.
A few days later she was transferred to Glenfield in Leicester a heart specialist hospital. After examining her arteries with one of those clever devices they decided on a double heart bypass which was done within 2 weeks of the heart attack. After a few weeks in hospital she came home and when it was clear she could not quite cope she got several weeks of rehabiliation care nearby in a lovely place in Rushden. Oh and home visits by Occupational Therapists to see what equipment she needed (and free loan for as long as she needed them).
Over the next year she slowly improved with a few short hospital visits to drain her lungs (including one where she got MRSA, or more likely had it and they discovered it) and she is still with us, still living on her own and coping (with a care package). Now struggling with double curvature of the spine she is on a long list of drugs (3 pages of the standard prescription forms) but still has a good quality of life.
A couple of months ago she had a heart attack scare, again the
ambulance came they were pretty sure it was ok but took her to hospital
for thorough tests to confirm she was ok.
In the last 6 months she has had two cateract operations both were done at a local private hospital by the NHS and for both they gave her a general anaesthetic and kept her in overnight for checking (she can’t lie flat for the operation so this was the only way it could be done). Now she does not need glasses except for reading – the hospital sold us a pair for £2.99 :-).
Through all that treatment neither she nor we have ever had to pay anything, or sign any papers relating to payment. That is despite after 60 odd years in this country she is still an Austalian citizen. There were questions about having the double bypass, but they were clinical – would she survive the operation, would it make enough improvement to her life to be worthwhile for her to go through (clearly the answers to both are yes).
I could look back to the years of treatement my father-in-law had for cancer that greatly extended his life and gave it a high level of quality. Care that supported the family so that exactly as he wanted he could stay at home to the end.
No this system is not perfect, our local hospital is very overloaded. But many things are improving. Over the last 4 years I have seen huge improvements in cleanliness at the local hospital and we will be getting a new local clinic.
Meanwhile we will continue to take Mum to the doctors several times a month for checkups, the podiatrist and everything else that seems to go wrong. She will continue to make friends with the doctors (although her hearing makes that a bit more difficult – I did not mention that the NHS have provided her with hearing aids for years, now very fancy digital ones).
So yes I love the NHS, it means my boys still have a grandma!
Onto the posts around the net.
First an excellent post and hundreds of comments many by people with experience of both US and UK health care: This American’s Experience of Britain’s Healthcare System (ht Pam in a comment on a cpost on theConnexion)
Good post by Dave Faulkner We Love The NHS