A tale of two headlines

Poor care \’could be killing patients\’
Poor health care could be contributing to hundreds of deaths a year in British hospitals, a new report suggests.


NHS \’better than American health care\’
NHS care in Britain is better than private health provision in the United States for quick and effective treatment, according to an American think tank.

They\’re not mutually exclusive stories of course: but it is a tad unlikely that both are true.

Me, I think the real question is what did that American think tank use as a measure of \”better health care\”. If it\’s things like access, financing, then it\’s just a repeat of the WHO rankings, not a measure of the \”actual\” health care that is on offer.

2 thoughts on “A tale of two headlines”

  1. It’s not a ‘think tank’. It’s the Commonwealth Fund , a single-issue advocacy and lobbying group for single-payer, government-administered healthcare in the US.

    This organization cannot find a single thing that it likes about the current state of US healthcare. No matter what it is, from the actual provsion of care, to funding, to facilities, to technology, according to these folks, it is uniformly done terribly in the US and wonderfully-well everywhere else. Their whole raison d’etre is to point out what they see as flaws in US healthcare, in order to lobby for their ideas of what would be a better system. It’s all they do.

    Calling them a ‘think tank’ on healthcare is like calling the BNP a ‘think tank’ on immigration.



  2. …or the TPA a ‘think tank’ on taxes.

    However, there’s *absolutely* no conflict between the two reports: in a country of 50 or 60 million people (haven’t checked whether we’re talking NHS UK or NHS England), a few hundred deaths is statistical noise.

    If, on whatever metric, you’ve discovered that NHS is 1% better at outcomes than the US system, then even if the NHS bumps off a thousand patients per year, this only cuts that advantage to 0.99%…

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