Thursday, 13 August 2009

Planet Hannan

Reality check. We used the NHS yesterday - my father-in-law had an operation on his eye that seems to have been successful.

Just in case there is anyone from the US who reads this and knows of Mr Hannan, then I can assure you that this is a massive distortion of how the NHS works. We have our fair share of plonkers over here, and somebody must have voted for this one, but few people in the UK would take his views on the health system seriously. I think most reasonable people would be shocked that a representative of a mainstream political party is spouting such rubbish. I suspect his own colleagues find him an embarassment, and I certainly hope they do.

The UK system is not perfect, by any means, and we all love to grumble about it, but I think the general consensus across mainstream political opinion is that for patients the NHS does a pretty good job on the whole, and a wonderful job on occassions. For the tax-payer it is about as cost-effective as a modern health system can be; but above all, we are proud to have a system that is accessible to everyone.

Most of us would like to see improved NHS performance in some areas, though we don't necessarily agree on which. But as far as I am aware nobody is arguing that we should move to a system more like the current one in the US - that seems to be far more costly than the UK system, yet still excludes so many.


townmouse said...

Ooh, this whole thing is driving my (American but long time UK resident) other half up the wall. What none of these jokers are pointing out is that the UK system allows you to go private if you want to, just like the US system does. Grrr. And besides, I don't think the American suggestions are for anything like the NHS (which suits us, but probably isn't something you'd set up if you had a blank slate now) but something more like the German or French systems. Presumably they couldn't find enough German or French politicians willing to slag off their own country to make that work.

Aagh. I'm cross now.

Tom said...

Hear hear!

To leave any citizen without health care is a disgrace. By all means pay for private care, you've got that right.

But with health spending per person in the UK 58% lower than the US, and a higher life expectancy, which would you go for?

I hope that the US Congress is wise enough to ignore the likes of Hannan and ensure every American is able to access basic medical care.

Born on the Fourth of July said...

Vain hope, Tom. Wisdom isn't a quality for which our Congress is much celebrated. In any case, it's an article of faith in America that winning isn't everything. Someone else must be seen to lose. And what better way to drive this point home than by turning our collective backs on the uninsured? It's our way of putting the boot in good and proper.

Surely you see the logic in that.

gom1 said...

This is rather good -

gom1 said...

Glad to see this issues is causing the furore in the UK that it should.