Is It Time To Give Up On Britain's National Health Service?

  • Written by Zero Hedge
  • Published in Economics

Authored by Antony Sammeroff via The Mises Institute,

Our National Health Service just turned 70! According to a recent article in The Guardian by Polly Toynbee , The NHS is our religion in the UK and that's why the conservative government can't destroy it. Of course, the Conservative government have never actually tried to destroy the NHS. They haven’t even reduced the amount spent on the NHS. They haven’t even halted increases in healthcare spending. The only thing they have done is reduced the rate at which spending is going to continue to increase.

Before the National Health Service was created in Great Britain our nation was a world-leader with an unrivalled record in making major medical breakthroughs. People came from all over the globe to study medicine, and to be treated in the UK. Dr. John Snow proved that the source of cholera epidemics was the water supply in London. Edward Jenner pioneered a vaccine for smallpox in rural England, and Sir Almroth Wright one for typhoid. Sir Humphrey Davy, also a Briton, first suggested the use of nitrous oxide as an anaesthetic in 1800. Sir Joseph Lister pioneered the use of antiseptics in operations in 1865 using impure carbolic acid, saving countless people dying from infections after surgery. Alexander Flemming, the Scottish physician discovered Penicillin in one of the charitable hospitals in London in 1928. Howard Florey and Ernst Chain, brought it to fruition working in a laboratory in Oxford in 1941. Britain had established the best record in the world for achieving major medical advances and had just developed the landmark drug of the 20th century, as well as playing a leading role in 5 out of the 7 leading medical breakthroughs between 1750 and 1948 when the NHS was established. Britain is no longer a leader in medical advances. Despite its costliness, nepotism, and other flaws, America’s private system has taken the lead.

Britain has less of the latest equipment and the old equipment is often being kept beyond the time when it is safe. If a private company was using out of date intensive care machines and x-ray machines, obsolete cancer care equipment, and operating tables over twenty years old – double their safe life span – the champions of the NHS would no doubt be clamouring for more government oversight and regulation. When government agencies are culpable, they are more or less given a pass on public outrage because they are perceived to be acting in the public interest rather than for profit.

In the UK we cannot compete with cancer survival rates in the US. A 2011 report demonstrated that the average cancer survival rate was 71.18% in the USA as compared to 54.48% in England.  Our healthcare may be free at the point of service, but fewer of us survive it. It is costly in terms of lives. In fact, the BBC recently ran an article that reported “patients...

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