Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The NHS: an asset?

NHS spending has increased, from about £37 billion in 1997, to £90 billion today; and average waiting times have gone up.
Average hospital waiting times have risen under Labour, figures show.

Before Labour came to power in 1997 waits of more than 18 months were not uncommon, but now no-one waits longer than six months in England.

However, NHS data reveals in 1997-98 median average waits stood at 41 days, but by last year had risen to 49 days.

The government said it was the price paid for the end of really long waits, but doctors said longer waits included some patients with serious conditions.

Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the British Medical Association's consultants committee, said: "All that has happened is that the government has put an end to the really long waits and the really short waits.

"Doctors have been stopped from using their clinical judgement and pushing people through the system when they need to be.

"Of course, it is good that the really long waits have gone, but it is wrong to say that all patient care has improved because of shorter waits."

Brilliant. So, you can imagine my unconfined joy as I found, on some student discussion board, this moronic statement.
The NHS is one of this Countries greatest assets.

Fucking hellski.

29 comments:

the A&E Charge Nurse said...

Devil - libertarians must have been cock-a-hoop when the state monoply governing dentistry was abolished.

In the aftermath of the monolith surely cutomers would enjoy unprecedented improvements in dental care, all at an afforable price, and with far greater convenience thrown in for good measure ?
Ha-ha-ha-ha..........

Sorry about that, where was I, ah yes, British dentistry, 2008 - well, 78% can no longer find an NHS dentist, while it has been estimated 45,000 Brits now seek treatment abroad because they simply cannot afford to pay the EXHORBITANT PRICES for anything other than the most rudimentary treatment.

The private sector is now worth £2.4 BILLION but who would care to itemise customer benefits, hell even waiting times are hitting the 2 week mark to obtain an appointment, so perhaps it's not too suprising that some poor bastards have resorted to pulling their own teeth out.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/10/15/nteeth115.xml

And
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/10/21/nteeth121.xml&page=1

cassandra said...

"one of this countries greatest assets" Er countrIES? shouldnt that be countrys?
Fucking illiterate spastics spewing party dogma with no idea of reality? You just gotta hope this 'cunt of the month' goes into an NHS death factory and comes out with a healthy dose of Cdiff or MRSA!
Let the twat praise the NHS then eh?

Devil's Kitchen said...

A&E,

Dentistry is an excellent example, in fact. My private, non-NHS dentist costs me £20 for a checkup, whch I have twice a year. A filling costs me £35.

I don't want to have to spend £35, so I have a big incentive to care for my teeth. Plus, of course, there are insurance plans, such as Denplan, which are based on an actual assessment of the condition of your teeth.

In this way, people who care for their teeth are not penalised for the actions of those who do not.

Given your concerns about sugar in our diet (and its relation to bad teeth), you should be over the moon, no?

DK

Anonymous said...

"The NHS is one of this Countries greatest assets."

Along with the State education system.

the A&E Charge Nurse said...

Average Denplan monthly payments are estimated to be £16 per month.
http://whatprice.co.uk/financial/dental-insurance.html

There are x5 in our family, so this adds up to nearly a grand a year - supposing our collective teeth are OK over this 12 month period, that's a lot of money for somebody to poke around the mouth while making small talk about holidays, etc.
No wonder the dental industry is generating billions.

But don't worry Devil the NHS is sinking, and the day of the insurer is at hand - perhaps it's time for one or two of us to take a crash course in unravelling the fine print ?

Budgie said...

A & E charge nurse said:
'78% can no longer find an NHS dentist'

What - so we pay more taxes than ever, and NHS spending has more than doubled, but the NHS is so bad at providing dentristy that 78% have to use private? What an admission.

In theory the NHS concept is not bad, but the current bloated, wasteful, corrupt, over managed, political plaything cannot be defended any longer.

Neal Asher said...

I agree that the NHS is a massively bloated bureaucratic beast. It annoys me, as does illiteracy. For the information of A&E and cassandra, it's country's - the 's' being possessive and requiring an apostrophe.

Kay Tie said...

" it's country's - the 's' being possessive and requiring an apostrophe."

Heartening to see that at least some professional authors are literate. I've read a couple of books recently that had "loose" for "lose" and "lightening" for "lightning", showing that although spellcheckers are still working properly, editors aren't.

Neal Asher said...

I'm not that literate, Kay, but when someone is correcting others and getting it wrong, that makes me cringe. Anyway, the possessive 's' rule is such an easy one to learn.

the A&E Charge Nurse said...

Neal - I don't recall making any grammatical corrections, no, my point was that while the NHS might be 'massively bloated' (to use your phrase) it doesn't follow that any alternative will automatically improve on it.

To my mind dentistry illustrate this point - perhaps the libertarians need to distinguish between theories that appear rather promising (in cyberworld) and the reality of how these theories actually pan out on the streets of Lewisham or the gorbals, for example.

Mark Wadsworth said...

A&E, my private dentist can see me usually at a day or two's notice, charges about £40 a go (for a check up and on average one filling). The local NHS dentist took a year to even get me on the list, and when I asked for an appointment, they told me two weeks.

There are four in our family, say two visits a year each at average £30 a visit = £240, the insurance company is clearly ripping people off.

verity said...

Neil Asher made my point. I was going to point out that not only is it country's, but it is country with a small 'c'. I wonder why that illiterate moron thought the word 'country' is a proper noun.

Mark Wadsworth says: "the insurance company is clearly ripping people off."

People are free to change their insurance company.

Neal Asher said...

"Neal - I don't recall making any grammatical corrections,"

Which rather demonstrates how little attention you pay to other people's posts. You didn't make any grammatical corrections; you were the one being corrected. But I guess you have to be defensive when fighting off attacks by evil libertarians on that crippled white elephant called the NHS.

Tuscan Tony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tuscan Tony said...

The level of debate on that student site reinforces my view that the sole purpose of some (most?) unis these days is to serve as adult creches. Depressing.

Kay Tie said...

"Depressing."

What's really depressing is that they are laying out £20K for a substandard education in subjects that are pointless in the expectation of getting highly paid jobs for which they aren't properly qualified.

The young generation is screwed: after paying for their education loans they'll have to pay the gold-plated pensions of the public sector workers that voted themselves the benefits knowing that it was the young who were going to pay for it.

Longrider said...

When I was assessed for Denplan following my dentist opting out of the NHS, my quote was £11 per month. I decided to underwrite the risk myself and not bother with the insurance. Several years on, I'm up on the deal. As stated, the insurance company is ripping people off. I am content to pay my dentist for the regular check-ups and occasional treatment. There is no "waiting time" as I can get an appointment pretty much when I choose. The service is excellent and good value for money. I have no complaints.

Budgie said...

A & E is wrong. The 78% now going privately to the dentist is a reflection of how bad the NHS is, not how bad the private sector is.

There has always been private dentistry. But it has taken Labour and a massive increase in NHS funding to nearly destroy NHS dentistry.

Ed said...

My dentist who I have used since time began offers discounts to children which a) helps the parents out and b) increases the likelihood that those children will stay as loyal customers in their later years. I now live across town from his practice but I will never give him up. He is clearly a shrewd businessman as well as an excellent dentist. We could do with more people like that in our "public services".

Tim Almond said...

a&e charge nurse,

"In the aftermath of the monolith surely cutomers would enjoy unprecedented improvements in dental care, all at an afforable price, and with far greater convenience thrown in for good measure ?
Ha-ha-ha-ha.........."

Convenience? Absolutely. I was working away from home last year and chipped a bit of tooth. I went onto yellow pages, found a dentist, called in at lunchtime and I was out in less than an hour at the cost of about £30. Try doing that with GP.

Cost? Is the total cost much higher? Not sure about that. There are more private dentists, but that's because in the late 90s, the NHS cut payments to dentists and they quit to go private.

To be fair, dentistry is about the only part of the NHS that I like. Then again, it works on a good mix of competition, incentives and social insurance. Pick your dentist and get the work done, pay part of the bill, and the dentist gets the rest. There's insurance against large bills, yet incentives to look after yourself as you pay a share. And because you pick the dentist, there's competition which raises standards.

the A&E Charge Nurse said...

I'm AMAZED that commentators here seem enthralled with the overall state of British dentistry - here is yet another article on the great rip off being perpertrated on thousands of customers: am I'm missing something (grammatical sensitivities aside) ?

The Office of Fair Trading conclude "the market is not working well for customers", it was also noted that dentistry in England was the most expensive in Europe - as I say don't assume that everything will be hunky dory once the NHS finally collapses.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/health-news/the-great-dentistry-ripoff-time-to-bite-back-769716.html

Anonymous said...

I note the leftie concerns over dentistry. These surely seem misplaced. After all, in 1999 their prime minister committed to ensuring we all had easy access to an NHS dentist. Naturally, given his vaunted integrity and the vast sums spent on the NHS, we can all be sure that almost a decade later, we are reaping the fruits of his commitment.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/459949.stm

Longrider said...

I'm AMAZED that commentators here seem enthralled with the overall state of British dentistry - here is yet another article on the great rip off being perpertrated on thousands of customers: am I'm missing something (grammatical sensitivities aside) ?

I didn't use the word "enthralled". I said I have no complaints. My dentist provides a service at an acceptable price - I chose not to have the expensive (and over priced) Denplan insurance. Now, that is a rip off. But as Verity pointed out - no one is obliged to use Denplan. There are other insurers, or do as I did and pay for treatment and check-up as and when.

My dental bills are relatively low as a consequence and I look after my teeth. So, no complaints.

If you wanted to demonstrate how wonderful the NHS is, you probably chose a bad example.

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that no-one has yet noted that the student is an A. Hole.

the a&e charge nurse said...

Thanks longrider - up until fairly recently the NHS was woefully underfunded, if we take France, Germany, Switzerland or the USA as benchmarks.

The OECD stats are there for all to see - it wasn't that long ago that the States spent almost double the proportion of GDP on health - incredibly the NHS had similar mortality rates (when compared to the States) probably because of the terrible iniqueties that characterise a health systems given over to the fatcats.

The main reason the NHS did reasonably well was because junior doctors routinely worked 60-70 unpaid hours per week, (at least until the EWTD) and GPs provided 24/7 cover (until the OOH debacle) - good for us, but not so good for the doctors, some of whom literally dropped dead from exhaustion.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1501153.stm
Or killed patients because they were so fucking knackered
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=401670&in_page_id=1770

Despite this burden many docs (and nurses) viewed the founding NHS principles as worthy and humane, although NuLab have done all within their power to whittle away these values in order to subsitute them with a bizarre combination of central control and pseudo-private ventures (PFIs, ISTCs, etc).

So, yes, the NHS is almost certainly in it's death throes, and whatever replaces it MUST be better, right ?

Wrong.........unless you happen to think punters ripping their own teeth out exemplifies a modern and efficient service (if we take the current model of dentistry as one example of what MIGHT replace the monolith).

At least the bureaucrats will be kept busy administering a huge range of insurance policies for cancers, heart disease, hiv, etc, etc, etc.

Longrider said...

I have some experience of the French system - it is excellent. However, the cost to the taxpayer is high. Cotisations - the French equivalent of national insurance contributions amount to 8% of one's income. The cost to employers is much higher and that is one reason why employment is a problem in France.

Also, this only covers 70% of the cost of treatment. The patient has a choice; top up insurance or foot the bill themselves.

Budgie said...

A & E said:
'junior doctors routinely worked 60-70 unpaid hours per week, (at least until the EWTD)'

They still do - they just don't book it, because the bloated NHS management marks them down as 'incompetent' if they go over the magic 48 hours. Yet another example of the harm that the target culture causes.

Anonymous said...

If you pay for NHS treatment in some places private dentistry doesn't cost taht much more. However, for people who are entitled to free NHS dentistry private dentists are very expensive in comparison.

This means all elderly people, children and pregnant mothers (the latter as pregnancy robs you of calcium and makes you much more vulnerable to dental problems). For many families on low wages, having to pay private dentists for their children is a financial burden.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Anon,

"For many families on low wages, having to pay private dentists for their children is a financial burden."

For families on low wages, having to pay private shopkeepers for nappies and food is also a burden. Should we then nationalise all of the shops?

For that matter, having to pay private dentists for those on not so low wages is also a burden.

The question is, what are your priorities? Would you, as a parent, be prepared to pay £50 a year to make sure that your child has decent teeth, or will you buy a computer game instead?

Priorities, priorities. In the grand scheme of things, even private dentists are not very expensive provided that you have not neglected your teeth.

DK