Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cameron Privatizes the NHS

The National Health Service, the state-run health care system in Great Britain, was already on life-support. Now Prime Minister David Cameron wants to pull the plug.

At least, he wants to put an end to the full state subsidy of the state health care system, a program which is notoriously riddled with incompetence and inefficiencies. This measure comes in the wake of the current British government's attempts to staunch the hemorrhaging national budget, which is currently facing historic deficits.

Acknowledging that the NHS is Great Britain's largest employer, Cameron has suggested contracting out services to private clinics and allowing family practitioners to make more decisions on behalf of the patient, instead of unlicensed and unprofessional bureaucrats.

This is a telling step for the British Government and its people, considering that the NHS has been a source of pride in the UK ever since its inception. But let's consider its achievements.

On average, a patient must wait a significant period of time before seeing a physician and receiving the proper care needed. Average waiting time: seven to eight months.
According to some reports, pregnant mothers have had to deliver their children in hallways in certain hospitals because medical facilities are so overbooked and understaffed.

Two incidents relating to the Dentistry Services in the UK also point to the gross incompetence which plagues the NHS. One man was so desperate to see a dentist, that instead of waiting the customary seven-eight months for an appointment, he had to take the drastic measure of pulling out his own infected tooth. In another published incident, an unlicensed Dutch was secretly recruited by imperilled patients, only to be chased around from city to city by the state police. That did prevent the dentist from practicing her trade, since so many patients needed oral care.

Ardent supports of Obamacare should pay close attention these fiscal and moral realities which result from any attempt at state-run, state-mandated health care. Just because any agency declares that every citizen is entitled to free health care does not mean that it will be free, available, or even acceptable. The few isolated examples mentioned above do not begin to paint the horrid conditions, treatment, and outcomes which patients in the UK must face at the hands of the NHS. As P. J. O'Rourke quipped, "If you think health care is expensive now, just wait until it's free."

In light of the brave steps which Prime Minister Cameron is taking to swiftly reduce the national deficit, it is shameful to witness President Obama and his Democratic caucus in Congress support a budge-busting take-over of the health-care system in the United States.

I hope the best for Cameron and the British public in the wake of this grand privatization of health care. I also hope his proposed reforms will provide better care at a quicker pace in a more efficient manner. In turn, the British public will be distinctly surprised by the outcomes of the British government's releasing its hold on a profession which is better practiced by the professionals schooled in the trade and by the individual patients who better know what they need and how to evaluate the proper cost.

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