A damning report on the state of government-run health care in the UK, found in the leftist New York Times, of all places.
Shockingly bad care and inhumane treatment at a hospital in the Midlands led to hundreds of unnecessary deaths and stripped countless patients of their dignity and self-respect, according to a scathing report published on Wednesday.
The report, which examined conditions at Stafford Hospital in Staffordshire over a 50-month period between 2005 and 2009, cites example after example of horrific treatment: patients left unbathed and lying in their own urine and excrement; patients left so thirsty that they drank water from vases; patients denied medication, pain relief and food by callous and overworked staff members; patients who contracted infections due to filthy conditions; and patients sent home to die after being given the wrong diagnoses.
[...]The report into what has been called the biggest scandal in the modern history of the health service found that many of the problems were due to the efforts of the hospital to meet health-service targets, like providing care within four hours to patients arriving at the emergency room. It also said that in its efforts to balance its books and save $16 million in 2006 and 2007 in order to achieve so-called foundation-trust status, which made it semi-independent of control by the central government, the hospital laid off too many people and focused relentlessly on external objectives rather than patient care.
Patients have to be cared about in a for-profit system, otherwise, no one will get paid. In a socialist system, patients pay first and then hope to get care later. Although there are many hard-working doctors and nurses in the NHS, you can’t separate the care that a patient gets from the reward that doctors and nurses get, otherwise, they lose their incentive to care for patients.
But an even bigger problem is that when government runs health care, all kinds of things start to get covered that are not really health care, as the government begins to use health care as a way to buy votes. Suddenly, patients with real health care needs have to get in line behind people who want sex changes, breast implants, IVF, elective abortions and so on. There just isn’t time to give everyone care when the people seeking have no incentive to live responsible lives and make responsible choices in order to avoid risks that may require care. I do believe that the majority of NHS doctors and nurses mean well. They want to serve and help others. But when patients have no incentive to be responsible, there will be too much demand for care, and there will be shortages. When prices are health below market value, demand surges and a shortage will occur.
Here’s a bit more about the NHS health care problem from the UK Daily Mail.
This week, the scathing report on the Stafford Hospital Scandal — after abuse and neglect led to the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of patients — said ‘fundamental change’ was needed in the NHS. It condemned ‘failings at every level’ and contained 290 recommendations for reform. However, Robert Francis QC’s report was merely the latest damning indictment of the health service.
In November 2012 the Care Quality Commission found that ten per cent of hospitals and 15 per cent of care homes weren’t treating their patients with respect. Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, warned that cruelty and neglect had become normal in some hospitals and care homes.
[...]Reports in 2011 from Age UK and The Patients’ Association exposed some horrendous instances of abuse and neglect — not only enforced incontinence and unanswered buzzers, but patients left hungry and thirsty or in soiled bed-linen.
Another reason for these shortages is bureaucratic red tape. Government-run enterprises are inefficient:
Talking with a cross-section of hospital staff, older nurses told me where they feel the problems lie. They say it is not so much a question of cruelty and neglect — although they acknowledge that this can exist — but more that ward culture has changed.
In the past, the patient’s comfort and needs came first, but now it is all too easy for elements of patient care to be missed as nursing staff focus on paperwork and meeting targets.
Should we have government-run health care? Let’s look at how it works in other countries and decide using the evidence.