Monday, October 29, 2007

British health system hardly on the rocks

by shamanic

I'm going to ask Cernig to jump in with any insider commentary he may have on the leanings of the Daily Mail, because today they're running a scare article that seems to suggest that Britons are fleeing England for quality Malaysian health care, except that the numbers cited represent some tiny fraction of 1% of NHS users.

What the reporting does show is that people of means will always have more options than those of lesser means. Which isn't exactly news, in England or anywhere else.

Update By Cernig First, let me note that the Daily mail is the most rightwing of all the Brit tabloid press and that the company behind the article's study is one which exists to promote private medicine both in the UK and abroad. Unbiased, they aren't.

Sha has it exactly right that the main thrust of this story is that people who can afford private healthcare in the UK are the ones doing the shopping around. Which means this story is far more an indictment of Britain's overpriced and profit-gouging private sector than it is of the NHS.

The key graff in the Daily Mail's story is being deliberately overlooked by US conservatives today:
Low prices in India, where flights, hotels and a heart bypass cost less than half the price charged by British private hospitals, explain its top ranking in the survey by Treatment Abroad, a British website providing information on hospitals overseas.
These travellers wouldn't have used the NHS in any case. They're rich queue-jumpers.

None of the conservative pundits talking about this story will mention, either, this article on the Treatment Abroad website that says "many Americans are choosing to have their treatment abroad. The primary reason is due to the astonishing financial rewards....Given the cost of medical treatment in America, it is little surprise that people are outsourcing complex medical operations to other countries."

As to the part about MRSA superbugs driving this exodus - again it's rubbish by the article's own admission, sheer purple journalism. However, conservative fans of the American private system shouldn't get too jubilant about British superbug woes. A recent US government study detailed how MRSA killed more than 18,000 Americans in 2005, a quarter of whom became infected while in the hospital. But let's not let facts get in the way of a good chance to bash "socialized" healthcare, or by extension the Democrats, shall we?

No comments: