Oh, my, yes, the NHS is wonderful and getting better all the time:

Best of all, mortality amenable to healthcare figures – the avoidable death rates – now show a 21% improvement, far more than any other EU country. As those figures cover only 1998 to 2003 before the big spend, they are expected to have improved sharply.

Yes, you would expect a doubling of the cash spent to improve the results of a system. But let\’s take this measure, the very one that Polly thinks is he way we should measure the system, and see where that takes us, shall we?

Avoidable mortality is death from diseases such as tuberculosis, septicemia, hypertension, influenza, peptic ulcer, appendicitis, etc. Paris also has the lowest avoidable mortality rates while London has the highest and New York in between.

The NHS is in fact worse than the French system (with its horrible and pernicious top up private insurance), worse even than the US system (with its pernicious profit making from sick people). In fact, on this measure, the one Polly wants us to use, it\’s shit.

That must be why so many countries have copied our "Wonder of the World" then.

6 thoughts on “Polly Today”

  1. This report of mine has a long time series for mortality amenable to healthcare compared to a panel of European countries:


    Yes we’re catching up with Europe (that’s to be expected even in the absence of chucking money at it – standard catch-up effects) but really slowly and we caught up at exactly the same pace before and after the spending binge (in fact, as far back as Thatcher’s day).

  2. I was baffled by this part:

    “It’s a puzzle why anyone thinks the NHS becomes less affordable the richer we get. Health is a discretionary good and we can spend whatever we choose – but it’s cheaper for all to buy it collectively.”

    I’m not at all sure what she’s talking about. I’m not sure she’s sure either!

  3. If Polly had a brain she would be dangerous. Luckily she is still plugged in to the Guardian hive brain cell.

    And I’m with QuestionThat, what is she on about, the daft cow?

  4. Tim, I followed your link it actually says this:-

    “The authors find that Paris has the lowest mortality rates and New York has the highest mortality rates with London in between”.

    Which correlates exactly with how much each country spends on tax-funded healthcare – the more you spend, the lower the mortality.

    Also if you follow the link (on a blog advertising BUPA healthcare) to the actual paper cited you find it was only looking at the 1998-2000 period – i.e the period still heavily damaged by the Tory years of under-spend and managerial interference.

    Tim adds: Neil, are you feeling especially dense today? Polly was talking about “avoidable mortality”. As was the part that I quoted.

  5. i.e the period still heavily damaged by the Tory years of under-spend and managerial interference.

    Did Labour ever agree a date when this finally stopped being a credible excuse for all their own failures?

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