Why the NHS Keeps Failing Britain (The Wall Street Journal)

CPS Research Fellow Rupert Darwell writes for The Wall Street Journal on the state of the NHS in the wake of the Francis Inquiry on 14th Febraury 2013.

To view the full article, please visit The Wall Street Journal website

“In February 2003 Gordon Brown, then Britain’s chancellor, declared that “in health care, we know that the consumer is not sovereign.” A decade later, the final report of the public inquiry into the failings of the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust between 2005 and 2009 has revealed the consequences—what happens when the patient is not sovereign but subject.

The Mid-Staffs story, according to inquiry chairman Robert Francis, is one of “appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people.” There was a lack of care, compassion and humanity. Fundamental rights to dignity were not respected. Elderly and vulnerable patients had been left unwashed, unfed and without fluids, and there were incidents of callous treatment by ward staff.

Yet a 2010 Harris poll of 11 countries found Britons the most content with their system of health care—62% of Brits said the system works pretty well, compared to 51% of the Dutch, the next highest. Only 29% of Americans believed that their health-care system needed only minor changes to make it work better.

Mr. Brown had made his remark on the cusp of his victory in the most fateful domestic policy battle of the Blair government. With two landslide election wins, no other British prime minister was as well positioned as Tony Blair to overcome Britons’ belief that the NHS is the envy of the world—a collective feat of cognitive dissonance no evidence can shift.”

To view the full article, please visit The Wall Street Journal website

Date Added: Friday 15th February 2013