Britain is the only country in the industrialised world where wealth does not determine access to healthcare, study finds.
There\’s nothing wrong with the study as is: it\’s a telephone survey of individuals. And there\’s nothing very surprising about such a survey showing that one of the very few health care systems which has no co-payments (other than prescription fees) has the greatest equality of access to health care.
If that\’s all you care about in your health care system, equality of access, then that\’s just fine.
Thing is, that\’s not the only thing that everyone should be caring about. We\’d also like to know a great deal more about quality of care that such a system offers.
Edwards said there were issues with NHS care. \”I think if you look at why we are not able to treat patients out of hospital well for, say, diabetes, or why we have high rates of heart disease, or look at cancer survival rates, it would be a different story. But the question is whether the government\’s plans for the NHS help this.\”
A government spokesperson said: \”The UK lags behind many international healthcare systems on survival rates – for example, for diseases such as cancer or stroke – and the NHS must reform in order to achieve better outcomes.\”
The NHS doesn\’t perform so well there. Which is why in the WHO rankings (the majority of which is calculated from such things as equality of access, progressiveness of funding etc, but also adding in responsiveness, quality of treatment etc) the NHS isn\’t quite so well regarded. Because it doesn\’t do well on those other measures.
Which are, arguably, things we should also care about.
To be extreme in an analogy, a system which provides gruel for everyone will be great for equality but not so good on the nutrition front as a system which provides two course meals to some and three course such to others.