Well, yes

Macmillan said the figures showed that much better survival rates were achievable in the UK.

Its chief executive, Lynda Thomas, said: “Because UK cancer survival rates are lagging so far behind the rest of Europe, people are dying needlessly. Frankly, this is shameful. If countries like Sweden, France, Finland and Austria can achieve these rates, then the UK can and should, bridge the gap.”


There is, as always
, the problem with such figures. What is the influence of early detection? However, leaving that aside, what do the countries with better survival rates have in common? Rather more market in their health care systems than we do.

Ho hum.

74 thoughts on “Well, yes”

  1. James Bartholomew pointed this out ten years ago (citing the work of Dr Karol Sikora). Obviously no-one in our wonderful NHS was listening.

  2. Random figures I found online suggest that Finland actually spends slightly less on healthcare than Britain.

    On a related topic, what do you make of the news that some hospitals paid well over £100/hr for locum nurses on New Year’s Eve? The other nurses on standard rates were rather displeased. Is it just crafty price segmentation of employees?

  3. TIm

    You’re wrong – the answer is to reduce tax evasion. Provide more money for Trade Unions and increase the power of the state. Only by investment in World Class Public services, clamping down on firms not paying the requisite amount of tax, and generally listening to the ideas being advocated by Civil Society will the problems be solved.

    As the Commonwealth Fund Survey from June 2014 found, the NHS is in fact the best healthcare system in the world and I can only presume the methodology of the survey being quoted might well have been subverted by neoliberal influences, or indeed corrupted by those tax evading entities looking to take advantage of the cowardly politicians currently in office to privatize the NHS as part of TTIP.

    I have been advocating for years that if only politicians would follow my advice and adopt country by country reporting, then the anomalies seem in the Macmillan study quoted would be shown to be the result of insufficient transparency and the activities of secrecy jurisdictions which the government could clamp down on if only it had the mind to.

    I am aware that various neoliberals will attack me for these conclusions, but rest assured I will continue to be unembarrassed about speaking the truth to power and fighting to preserve the legacy of the Courageous State. Those that wish to disagree may feel free to do so, as I am committed to Freedom of Speech, considering myself a libertarian. But they will not be able to do it here.

  4. “The charity is urging political parties to commit to improving cancer survival rates in their election manifestos.”

    Which they can improve by letting the NHS kill you through some other medium (Liverpool Care Pathway, MRSA, etc).

  5. Andrew M,

    “On a related topic, what do you make of the news that some hospitals paid well over £100/hr for locum nurses on New Year’s Eve? The other nurses on standard rates were rather displeased. Is it just crafty price segmentation of employees?”

    So, become a locum nurse, then.

  6. Andrew M,

    More serious answer: I used to be on a call-out rota. Part of the deal included covering new year’s eve occassionally. It wasn’t worth the money you earnt, but it was part of being on the rota. The wet Sundays in February when you made 4 hours of O/T for nothing compensated for doing New Year’s and Boxing day every few years.

    When I left the rota, if someone had come to me offering me New Year’s eve for the hour of O/T that you got, I’d have refused. I’d have wanted 5-6 times that, because that’s how much I’d want to give up New Year’s.

    What’s the contract in this situation? Was it a 3 month locum role or a 1 day locum role?

  7. So Much for Subtlety

    Ljh – “The NHS keeps people employed. Patient survival is a byproduct.”

    The NHS keeps politicians elected. Employment or patient survival is a byproduct. If they could get the same results by recycling one tenth of OAPs as soap, they probably would.

  8. “Universal health care supply cannot be undertaken on a market basis

    And please don’t quote the USA – it’s health care outcomes are dire”

    The usual false dichotomy from the NHS worshippers.

    Would it be beyond them to perhaps consider that there maybe the teeniest-tiniest smidgen of a possibility that other countries organise their health systems differently from both the UK and the US? And that there is a chance that we could learn something from them?

    More neo-liberal sophistry, I presume.

  9. Andrew K

    I think Tim said that the sadly missed Murphy Richards quit because of Poe’s Law. From recollection he said his wife hadn’t worked full-time because of ill-health. Based on what I see on the blog is that any surprise? Politicising everything must take its toll on even the cleverest of us, and, candidly, he has to be one of the people whose estimation of his own ability most exceeds it.

    GlenDorran/ The Thought Gang

    Am candidly kicking myself for missing ‘rent-seeking’ from the list. If the opportunity presents itself I shall try again. Lest we forget ‘I am a friend of the truth’

  10. GlenDorran

    I think you’re dangerously close to being an advocate for the ‘Third Way’ there – and as a result, a ‘Blairite, reactionary, neoliberal’ – Oh, and probably a ‘troll’ to boot….

    P.S Surely you can’t expect someone that stupid to be aware of nuance or grey areas…….

  11. Someone go over there and cite:

    Switzerland – Belgium – Netherlands – France – Germany – Sweden etc etc etc..

  12. abacab

    Assuming you even get through he will either:

    a;/ Best case and if he is in a good mood – quote you the Commonwealth fund study (which featured Holland, Switzerland and Germany amongst the 11 systems reviewed) – in a classic from the Guardian which looks like a straight take from Peter Simple’s work.

    ‘ The only serious black mark against the NHS was its poor record on keeping people alive.’

    B:/ Accuse you of being either a ‘neoliberal’ or ‘troll’ whilst admitting ‘I know nothing about the country in question’

  13. Keeping people alive? Yes I suppose that could be considered a downside in a socialist medical system.
    Reminds me of the Stafford hospital scandal, and the petitions and demonstrations to keep the place open afterwards. You could not make it up.

  14. I saw how the survey was set up. Given that the NHS is the national religion in the UK, it was a bit like asking devout Catholics whether the Catholic church is great or not, and then asking a bunch of Lutherans whether the Catholic church is great or not……….

  15. @Martin

    ‘Reminds me of the Stafford hospital scandal, and the petitions and demonstrations to keep the place open afterwards. You could not make it up.’

    Let’s say your place of work was threatened with closure, Martin. You’d be demonstrating to keep it open!

    The mistake we make is in thinking they give a flying fuck about the people they kill.

    But as PaulB says, it’s not important – he’s got a peer-reviewed study on hand which says people being killed in NHS hospitals ought to be grateful they aren’t being left out on hillsides.

  16. “Let’s say your place of work was threatened with closure, Martin. You’d be demonstrating to keep it open!”

    … and staff from other hospitals will have been supporting them as well. Once the precedent has been set that bad hospitals get closed then a whole union supported workforce would start to get worried. The rest of the public sector would also see the writing on the wall for them .

    This is why they are so opposed to any form
    of change. As soon as it can be shown that things can be done differently or done better or done more efficiently then people start to question the whole structure of the public sector.

    That can’t be allowed to happen, so the first changes are fought tooth and nail.

  17. No enemies on the left, eh?

    “Sue Queef says:
    March 24 2015 at 9:27 am
    Agreed Richard! The NHS is the envy of the world, matched only by the Cuban system. You would expect the world to learn while it watches and marvels. But no, the MacCarthyism of neoliberal idealogical doctrine means it can’t be done.

  18. Universal health care supply cannot be undertaken on a market basis

    And please don’t quote the USA – it’s health care outcomes are dire

    Shouldn’t this work the other way also? I mean that health care supply can not be undertaken on a centralized basis.

    Because the vast majority of countries that do this have dire health care outcomes.

    And he needs to recheck both his figures and understanding of what a ‘market’ is. US health care outcomes are not ‘dire’, they’re actually better than the NHS’.

    Our problem is, and has been, government interference with pricing. In the US about the only thing more tightly regulated than health care is (certain sectors of) finance.

  19. the key thing is, as you nearly get to, incentives – in an insurance-based system there’s a huge cost benefit in catching serious and potentially expensive conditions early, so all insurance-based healthcare systems have mandatory periodic check-ups and tests as a condition of coverage. Skipped your annual check up and blood test? Ooops, you’re not covered when you develop cancer.

    One of the many deeply annoying things about Murphy and his ilk is that they insist that behaviour can be modified by incentives (e.g. penal legislation to deter tax avoidance) when it suits them but that on some spurious subjective moral grounds they reject that people will react to incentives in a way they disagree with.

  20. Flatcap Army

    When I suggested to him about the very concept of ‘disincentives’ as a barrier to penal taxation (before I was barred from the site) he rejected it with the rider ‘are you saying poor people don’t suffer from disincentives’ – to which my rejoinder that – ‘I entirely agree – let’s take poor people out of taxation completely’ was met with an accusation that I was trying to ‘take the vote away’ – he Stopped digging at that point although oddly the post remained in place – a rare lapse on his part.

    As I said to GlenD – expecting consistency, intellectual coherence and rigour from such an entity is asking too much. What does need to be asked is:

    A;/ If he is receiving, even indirectly, money from ‘civil society’, which is provided by the taxpayer, the source of that income needs to be among the main targets for forthcoming public expenditure cuts.

    B;/ What were the extents of the links between the Rowntree foundation and CAGE beyond funding and did the former have any direct links to ISIS? If so, can Murphy be linked to ISIS? If not, how easy would it be for the security services to put out material suggesting such a linkage which would withstand scrutiny?

  21. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    What Flatcap Army says is right about some continental insurance systems. In Austria however it is very tightly regulated and one is treated regardless, provided one has been paying some premiums.

    My late wife had a lot of treatment in her final illness that might not have been covered elsewhere.

    In the 90s she was turned down for insurance by BUPA _because_ she went to regular check-ups. She was perfectly healthy at the time, but the idiots assumed that precautionary medicine=illness. I never worked that one out.

  22. @Van_Patten – I genuinely cannot even begin to understand the mentality of someone who insists that the poor (let’s take that as doing a full time job on minimum wage) have to be forced to pay tax because otherwise we would be robbing them of some kind of stake in society. They already have what we would refer to as “skin in the game”, they’re doing shitty usually manual, frequently dull and/or dangerous jobs for not much money; who on Earth would be so presumptuous as to assume that these people’s earning be taken off them (and then recycled back through the benefits system to make up the Living Wage)? Pompous know-nothing idiots.

  23. “As I said to GlenD – expecting consistency, intellectual coherence and rigour from such an entity is asking too much.”

    Absolutely.

    I agree entirely with his most recent post about the speed with which the Finance Bill becomes law – stopped clocks and all that.

    As he notes, there is no possible way that the Bill can be properly scrutinised and for MPs to understand what they are voting for in the time available.

    But let’s extend that point – there is absolutely no way that MPs can read and understand the volume of legislation that is presented to them (setting aside the number of them that are incapable of understanding anything….)

    The logical conclusion is that the huge swathes of legislation that is passed should be cut to the bone, and that we should actually be getting rid of as much existing legislation as is possible.

    Do you expect Ritchie will be consistent and come to this conclusion? Or would he denounce this as neoliberal?

  24. ….actually, as soon as I pressed Post on that comment I realised that Ritchie’s solution would be for *him* to write all legislation and then *advise* his favourite MPs that all is ok.

  25. @SMFS: “If they could get the same results by recycling one tenth of OAPs as soap, they probably would.”

    Nice bloke, that SMFS. He cracks jokes before opening the death chamber.

  26. Flatcap Army

    Oddly in my youth I was quite Left of Centre – I would have voted for Kinnock in 92 had I been able! It wasn’t until I began working a couple of years later that I saw exactly the phenomenon you describe.

    I was earning 8K p/a to save up some money to pay my way through University and go travelling (via coach in Eastern Europe – where 20p pints and 15pm packets of cigarettes added to the overall sense of mystery) and my colleagues were earning the heady reaches of £11K or suchlike, only to see 25 – 30% of it disappear back to the exchequer so that they ‘had a stake in society’ – it struck me as barmy then and the 1997 -2010 regime made it (along with everything else) far, far worse.

    My compliments to the posters on this thread. This was a very enjoyable discussion of the by now customary quality – people with real world experience and a good variety of opinions – then we see the first troll. No doubt DBC Reed will be along shortly to defend the indefensible as well….

  27. Bloke in Costa Rica

    “And please don’t quote the USA – it’s [sic] health care outcomes are dire”. The US has a market-based healthcare system? If Antony Gormley were to remake The Angel of the North entirely out of straw it would be dwarfed by the presumption inherent in that statement.

  28. BiCR

    ‘Have you not grasped anything that has been said? – are you incapable of nuance? That’s your last contribution here. Section 5 of the comments policy is now in force’

  29. Flatcap Army

    who on Earth would be so presumptuous as to assume that these people’s earning be taken off them (and then recycled back through the benefits system to make up the Living Wage)?

    Pompous know-nothing idiots.

    Actually, not true.

    This is classic leftie gerrymandering.

    Thatcher tried to encourage more people to vote Conservative by encouraging greater independence from the state – owning their own homes etc – rather than be dependent, to try and create a natural Conservative majority.

    Brown simply took it the other way, Make the majority of people dependent upon you.

    Be that through increasing the size of the payroll vote (public sector), or providing more and more benefits to greater numbers whilst also taking more away from them.

    Ie create a majority vote that doesn’t want its suckle removed… There are lots and lots of people, who have no need of those benefits, and that really are that gullible.

    I think the Murph understands this perfectly well.

  30. @Van_Patten: “I was earning 8K p/a to save up some money to pay my way through University and go travelling (via coach in Eastern Europe – where 20p pints and 15pm packets of cigarettes added to the overall sense of mystery) and my colleagues were earning the heady reaches of £11K or suchlike, only to see 25 – 30% of it disappear back to the exchequer so that they ‘had a stake in society’ – it struck me as barmy then and the 1997 -2010 regime made it (along with everything else) far, far worse.”

    Somewhere in that “sentence” I perceive entitlement. Having grown up with the wealth for a European holiday, state provided health care and education… Somewhere fellow citizens seem to have been forgotten. When you and your mates paid 25 – 30% of pay packet to the government, it made you normal but you didn’t comprehend it.

    Shock, horror — coaches; how the fuck do you travel to places without a First Class carriage?

  31. Charlieman:

    What are you on about? I’m really not sure what you are trying to say.

    V_P working to be able to afford a holiday is growing up with wealth? And where did he complain about using a coach? Your comment about First Class is bizarre; don’t know where that came from.

    V_P is a big boy and can defend himself, but Poe’s Law was mentioned upthread, and I’m not sure if your post is an example or not…

  32. Charlieman

    Re: the travel on coaches – I wasn’t bemoaning the fact, nor implying that i needed first class accommodation. Merely relaying the circumstances behind my political conversion and adding context. Apologies if you’d rather I call you a ‘troll’ or ‘stalinist’ and simply assume your argument had been dealt with. I’m not a particular fan of that approach

    ‘Having grown up with the wealth for a European holiday, state provided health care and education…

    Ok – so let’s leave the holiday piece to one side (I’m not sure if North Korea still does but states run along similar ideological grounds of which you might approve in the past did consider worker’s holidays to be essential as opposed to a luxury but I am guessing you consider such states ‘hard right’,no?)

    The piece on healthcare and education is an interesting one – should someone at between the second and third decile of average incomes within the Uk at that time have been paying 25 to 30% of their income to ensure everyone had access to free education and healthcare? That’s a debate that’s one with some pertinence even to this day. Suffice it to say you appear (and correct me if I’m simply reading this into your comments) to class expenditure as axiomatically good regardless of output.

    ‘Somewhere fellow citizens seem to have been forgotten. When you and your mates paid 25 – 30% of pay packet to the government, it made you normal but you didn’t comprehend it.’

    I think GlenDorran might have twigged your identity. What about poor unfortunates who weren’t earning enough to pay 25 to 30% (state pensioners for example or indeed people working in areas where average incomes were lower) – were these people ‘abnormal’? In different circumstances might they have been eligible for ‘special measures’ or even been classified as ‘anti-social’? The mind boggles – I do hope films weren’t made portraying them as akin to vermin. It sounds frightful.

    Still, as you say, it’s all about ‘a perception of entitlement’. Luckily I got taught my lesson growing up as I continued to pay vast sums into the exchequer to make my self normal. A definite Triumph of the Will. I’ll leave you with a quote:

    ‘How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t seem to think’

    If you can lift the club long enough to search it – you might see the irony in your quote above….

  33. @GlenDorran:
    “What are you on about? I’m really not sure what you are trying to say.”

    I can positively say that I am a liberal and a sceptic.

    Are you liberal and sceptic?

  34. @Van_Patten: “Re: the travel on coaches”

    Why do you play games, presenting one day as “So Much For Subtlety” and the other as Van_Patten?

  35. Charlieman

    Good trolling – rare to see on here since Arnald’s departure – colour me impressed.

    As for SMFS – not the same guy unfortunately…

  36. @Van_Patten: remarks:
    “Good trolling – rare to see on here since Arnald’s departure – colour me impressed.

    As for SMFS – not the same guy unfortunately…”

    So why do you talk like one another?

  37. The game is fucking over, SMFS or whatever clown representation which you prefer to present the world.

  38. Charlieman

    So no two people, in a global population of more than 6 billion could sound alike? No two products of a similar education system might have similar phraseology?

    ‘the game is fucking over’ – you really should watch your health – haven’t you been hospitalised twice in the past year? Third time lucky and all that?

  39. Oh, and you can go by your real name as well (I’m assuming you’re Richard Murphy right?) Tim doesn’t have a comments policy – no need of you believe in freedom of speech….

  40. Charlieman: is this some kind of 1st year philosophy class? I can send you some saucy pictures of myself if you like. May not be to your taste, but I’m not sure how else I can prove I’m real.

    V_P: I don’t think Charlieman is Ritchie. My reference to Poe’s Law was more in it’s “true” usage.

  41. GlenDorran

    I agree – he’s unlikely to be Murphy – whilst he has the stupidity and inability to argue coherently down pat- I’m fairly sure RM does not comment here.

    That said Charlieman is a pretty poor troll as well ‘The game is fucking over’ sounds like something out of a Jean Claude Van Damme flick from the 2000s. I miss Arnald – at least he was entertaining.

  42. So Much for Subtlety

    Charlieman – “The game is fucking over, SMFS or whatever clown representation which you prefer to present the world.”

    Ha! Not a chance. You have not yet managed to link me to my real identity as a Scottish lawyer working for BAe. As long as my secret is safe, you cannot stop me.

    Although I have to admit I have ridden in coaches when I was just a wee bairn at university.

  43. V_P: ah, Arnald. I remember him.

    I see someone has responded to Sue Queef, and Ritchie has taken the bait:

    “Remember the theory of competition is only a theory”

    Do you think Southampton University economics department list him as one of their esteemed alumni?

  44. @GlenDorran: “Charlieman: is this some kind of 1st year philosophy class?”

    Thanks. Who are Van_Patten and GlenDorran, perhaps SMFS, who I have especially offended?

  45. You’ve not offended me at all. I was just asking what your comment was supposed to mean. I appreciate clarity in writing (although I accept I don’t always meet that standard myself).

    Do you still want those photos? I’m sure I can get hold of a squirrel suit if that’s your thing.

  46. Charlieman

    That is my name – Van_Patten. If you want any more details I see no obligation to give them to you or anyone else? As for you being ‘offensive’ – beyond the ‘the game is fucking over’ nothing you said was offensive – stupid, Yes – but maybe any discussion needs people of all types to flourish….

  47. There is a singular Charlieman.

    But we might conclude that So Much for Subtlety/GlenDorran/Van_Patten is just an internet ranter, presenting under different names

  48. “But we might conclude that So Much for Subtlety/GlenDorran/Van_Patten is just an internet ranter, presenting under different names”

    Woo, tin-foil hat time.

    I’m not SMFS or V_P.

    I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does.

  49. So Much for Subtlety

    GlenDorran – “I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does.”

    While I am perfectly happy for people to think I am either GD or V_P, can I point out I am hardly going to quote a Smith’s song in a positive way, am I?

    Although if I was going to pick one, hmmm.

    And Chuckles:

    It’s hard to tell you how I feel without hurting you
    So try to think about yourself the way that I see you

  50. SMFS: “It’s hard to tell you how I feel without hurting you.”

    That’s fine. I’m playing “Container Drivers” fucking loud.

  51. Charlieman

    I guess if it’s Smiths time, and I am GlenDorran or SMFS then:

    ‘bigmouth strikes again and I’ve got no right to take my place I. The human race’

  52. Van_Patten writes classic SMFS vernacular: “Re: the travel on coaches – I wasn’t bemoaning the fact, nor implying that i needed first class accommodation. Merely relaying the circumstances behind my political conversion and adding context. Apologies if you’d rather I call you a ‘troll’ or ‘stalinist’ and simply assume your argument had been dealt with. I’m not a particular fan of that approach”

    That reads like SMFS. He can’t help slipping into his style.

    “Van_Patten” and “GlenDorran” write nice contributions about one another for a bit.

    Following that “GlenDorran” writes like SMFS: “You’ve not offended me at all. I was just asking what your comment was supposed to mean. I appreciate clarity in writing (although I accept I don’t always meet that standard myself).”

    I’m not sure whether “GlenDorran” is a victim of SMFS making stuff up. But we can see that “Van_Patten” is SMFS.

  53. Charlieman whether he is or he isn’t cant you just fuck off and stop trolling the thread with your bollocks?

  54. I think Charlieman has been hitting the sauce too hard. Or possibly something else.

    Lucky he’s at home wibbling and not in a town centre looking for a punch-up.

  55. Charlieman

    What Jack C said – you’ve obviously either had one too many or been the victim of a recent trauma. Nothing sprang Out at first glance on the KCNA website – perhaps you’d care to enlighten us?

  56. “all insurance-based healthcare systems have mandatory periodic check-ups and tests” and yet a lot of research seems to show that regular check-ups do no good.

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