It’s the Wonder Of The World it is

A shocking catalogue of hospital failings, including the case of an anorexic teen left to starve to death and former RAF pilot who was not told he had a brain tumour have been revealed in an in-depth study by the Patients’ Association.

The charity’s annual report said too many parts of the NHS have “lost their way” leaving patients to suffer from a lack of basic care, which compromised dignity and comfort, and put lives at risk.

It outlines detailed failings in the care of 14 patients, aged 19 to 94, with failures to diagnose and treat those suffering from life-threatening illness, and to provide food, drink or help getting to the toilet for the vulnerable elderly.

A shining vision of Jerusalem on the hill I tell you. No need to reform of change it in any manner whatsoever.


19 thoughts on “It’s the Wonder Of The World it is”

  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep repeating it – it took 70 years for socialism to bring Russia to its knees and it’ll take about as long for the NHS to reach a similar point, it being a textbook socialist organisation. I predict utter collapse within a decade.

    Its a fairly predictable path – initially socialism is run by people who grew up in more sensible times and thus can make it sort of work. Once those running and working in it have known nothing else it rapidly goes down hill. Thus the NHS ran OK while those in charge were still of the pre NHS era, once the Baby Boomers got their hands on it it was doomed.

    To be honest the same goes for the UK as a whole – I would hazard a guess the UK would be in a similar state to the NHS if it hadn’t been for a dose of Mrs T in the 80s. A brief respite from the disease that didn’t last long.

  2. And yet still there are those sweet naive souls who think that the NHS could be so much better, if only someone with a different colour tie was to occupy No. 10.

  3. Dammit, if only we spent more money on it, and stopped allowing the rich to buy private medical treatment, the NHS would be perfect! Perfect I tells you.

  4. I read the most gloriously stupid comment from a Facebook ‘friend’ recently (knee-jerk leftie – worships Tony Benn).

    His pet peeve/passion is the NHS. Will not tolerate criticism of it. Envy of the world, BLAH BLAH BLAH. Campaigns relentlessly against the ‘evil Tories attempting to privatise it’.

    This week one of his elderly nearest and dearest had an unpleasant experience, dreadful treatment in an NHS hospital. And his comment? ‘Why oh why did this happen? It wouldn’t be acceptable if the hospital was run like a business. Don’t use that hospital, go somewhere else!’

    You can take a horse to water…

  5. I guess it would be cheap shot to show this organisation’s supporters? Yes? Oh well, agenda anyone?

    On a more serious note, these kind of story collections are valuable and can save lives, but to jump from that to an assumption that it is saying anything about the overall quality of the NHS is sloppy thinking at best.

    What are you comparing it to? The report doesn’t offer a comparison. Do other countries have similar problems? Do other health systems have similar problems?

    Be shocked if the answer wasn’t ‘yes’ in both cases, humans being humans. How other countries and systems compare is another question. Even the question about whether they have similar ‘Patients Associations’ (who chose them to speak for the patients? See first two paragraphs?) trawling the wards encouraging people to complain and cherry picking the worst to further their agenda.

    Valuable? Yes. Leapt upon by people to further their own prejudices without brain-engagement? Definitely.

  6. Hi Doug

    I’m quite comfortable with the agenda of private healthcare companies – they want to sell me healthcare and make a profit, my agenda is to get as much healthcare as I can for my money. That’s the basis of a mutually beneficial transaction.

    The NHS’s agenda – to the extent that such a massive and complex bureaucracy can be said to have a coherent agenda – seems to be more about enhancing the pay and perks of NHS staff, and protecting them from any consequences of their failures.

    While that’s understandable and probably inevitable in any public sector monopoly, it leaves me as the patient in the position of being a supplicant when I’d much rather be treated like a valued customer whose business they can’t take for granted.

  7. Where I live the most important “healthcare company” for more than a century has been the Cambridge Water Company. It’s been ‘private sector” throughout.

  8. Steve, don’t forget all the NuPuritan bolleaux, as I’m currently listening to Jeremy Vine regular Dr Aseem Malhotra demanding plain packaging for sweets and fizzy drinks too, on the back of the cigarette policy…

  9. Steve

    ‘I’m quite comfortable with the agenda of private healthcare companies…’

    and I’m not?

    As you might (hypothetically) read an FoE report with the awareness as to how it is bought and paid for, then why not do the same with this one?

    Me, I suspect that anybody who sees only two sides in the private or public healthcare debate and takes one is talking utopian bollocks. Because humans. Because profit.

  10. “Because humans. Because profit.” Was the Cambridge Water Company magically exempted from those considerations? How odd that they didn’t poison the lot of us in search of profit.

  11. Hi Julia,

    Yes, the assumption is that the NHS no longer exists to serve the public, the public exists to serve the NHS.

    In effect, because the courageous state provides you with healthcare (not that you have the choice of opting out and getting your money back), the courageous state gets to tell you how to live your life so as to minimise liabilities on the healthcare system that it forces you to fund.

    It’s all for our own good of course.

    Mind you, much as I respect and admire doctors, in my university days the medical students were always the most degenerate alcoholics and smokers out of the lot of us. I wonder at what stage in their careers they morph into puritan killjoys.

  12. Hi Doug

    I wouldn’t know what you’re comfortable with 🙂

    “As you might (hypothetically) read an FoE report with the awareness as to how it is bought and paid for, then why not do the same with this one?”

    Fair point. But then we know the eco-freaks are usually lying or wrong, because it’s what they do. We know the NHS routinely fails its patients, because that’s what the NHS does. Do these healthcare firms have an agenda? Sure, everybody has an agenda. Are they lying? Not as far as I can tell.

    “Because humans. Because profit.”

    Quite. Why are there so many NHS horror stories, and so few about Bupa? Because profit.

    Why would no private hospital countenance behaving as Mid Staffs NHS did, and if they did manage to screw things up as monumentally as Mid Staffs NHS, why is it inconceivable that a private firm would allow those responsible to remain in their lavishly remunerated posts? Because profit.

    We know customers tend to be treated better than do welfare clients, because customers have economic power and choice whereas welfare clients take what they’re given. So why do we have a healthcare system that treats people like welfare clients? Who benefits from that?

  13. dearieme

    “Was the Cambridge Water Company magically exempted from those considerations?’

    Well, thank the Lord I wasn’t saying that private companies were bad.

  14. Steve

    “Why are there so many NHS horror stories, and so few about Bupa? Because profit.”

    Eh – because size?

    I think you’ve drunk the Kool Aid.

    There’s a lot wrong with the NHS, and for sure a greater degree of private health care provision would be a very interesting approach to take, but I wasn’t making any kind of argument for or against that.

    I was only pointing out that the collection of stories that the patients associations cherry-picked can tell us zilch about the overall quality of the NHS as it had not baseline to compare it to.

    It’s still valuable as I said. But it just doesn’t support or undermine your love of private health care.

  15. Steve
    “Quite. Why are there so many NHS horror stories, and so few about Bupa? Because profit.”

    Possibly. Also possibly because BUPA probably treat about 0.01% of the patients that the NHS does. (IIRC, BUPA is actually non-profit making.)

    Judging by the amount US doctors have to pay for insurance, private healthcare does not magically prevent cock-ups. May reduce them, I don’t know.

  16. Hi Doug

    I do love me some Kool Aid!

    Do you think Bupa customers on average have a better or worse experience than NHS patients do?

    Hi Luke,

    While I don’t know anybody who would suggest we copy the American system (pre or post Obamacare), it is instructive to note the difference between American hospitals and NHS ones, and the overall patient experience.

    Cock ups and worse happen under any system, although if Dr. Kermit Gosnell had been an NHS doctor, we’d be hearing that “lessons have been learned” and nobody needs to be sacked or jailed.

  17. Steve

    You cannot compare BUPA directly with the NHS – private healthcare doesnt do A&E and a lot of other stuff. BUPA is also a luxury top-up. It’s like comparing a 5 star hotel with youth hostels. You dont expect to get the same treatment.

    We do know that private provision can have problems – viz the tagging problems with Serco and G4S. The NHS has problems, but this doesnt really tell us much.

    Unlike Tim, I am firmly of the view that this attempt to introduce more private provision into the NHS is going to be an utter disaster – mainly because we are relying on NHS pricing to buy services. This is going to be an even bigger disaster than the idiocy under Labour that saw GPs absolution from out of hours care.

  18. I am also generally of the view that introducing faux-“private” methods into the NHS and similar institutions is a bad idea.

  19. We’d all like to reduce (or better eliminate) poor healthcare. The question is whether a different economic model for healthcare provision would achieve that.

    This is the Patients’ Association dossier. The first case is an 84-year-old woman with lung cancer, who went into hospital with an undiagnosed hip fracture and died 5 weeks later from pneumonia attributed to hospital-acquired C.Diff. infection. There were ugly deficiencies in her care along the way.

    Would she have been more likely to live in the USA? International comparisons are difficult, but reported C.Diff. mortality is higher there, so apparently no (mortality has fallen dramatically in the UK in the last few years). Would her hip fracture have been diagnosed sooner? Yes, very likely an early scan would have been ordered to look for it, as should probably have been done in the NHS too. Would there have been less likelihood of failures in nursing care? Would there have been less likelihood of communication failures between medical staff? We’ve got no data on that.

    The second case is a young woman who died of anorexia. The medical staff at her university and the local Eating Disorder Service, who were between them responsible for monitoring her condition, failed to do their jobs adequately. Has the funding model got anything to do with the willingness of medical staff to interfere with a patient who doesn’t want their help and is trying to fool them?

    There are many more cases…

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