The NHS – A Health Hazard

Dr Vernon Coleman MB ChB DSc FRSA

An American friend, who lives in New York, told me that Britain’s National Health Service is much admired by his fellow countrymen who regard it as the bees’ knees in medical care. Sadly, I’ve had to explain to him that he and they are much mistaken. The NHS, like the curate’s egg, is good in parts and is doubtless excellent if you want larger breasts, infertility treatment or a sex change but it is definitely very inadequate if you have cancer or have serious heart disease.

How many people know, I wonder, that the NHS (which fails so many people so fatally) has introduced a ‘personal health budget’ scheme which allows GPs to give cash for a wide variety of non-medical schemes which they think will improve patients’ lives.

So, for example, one practice in Cornwall spent a total of £267,000 of NHS money so that five patients could enjoy a Pedalo hire, horse riding classes and aromatherapy.

In Scotland, doctors with no apparent knowledge or understanding of nutrition or illness have spent millions of English pounds on writing prescriptions for hot dogs, hamburgers, biscuits and doughnuts. (Was this, perhaps, just some strange plan to kill off troublesome patients?)

Elsewhere, patients are dying because there is a waiting time of six months for X-rays to tell whether a patient has cancer or not.

And, of course, thousands of patients die because the NHS cannot afford to give them drugs which would prolong their lives.

The whole damned confusion has become so bureaucratic that patients only get half decent treatment if they have enough money and fame to give them the power to cause fear among the staff. Politicians would understand the NHS more effectively if they were forced to sit for nine hours in casualty with sick children, or wait six months for an X-ray to tell them whether or not they had cancer.

Like many doctors, I feel that as an institution the NHS does far more harm than good and that the United Kingdom would be able to provide better health care if the NHS did not exist.

But it is considered blasphemous to criticise the NHS and so nothing changes.

A global survey of health care showed that the NHS is the number one in the world for access (in that anyone can take advantage of it) but second to bottom in terms of keeping people alive.

Britons (and visitors to the country) would have better health care and better health and live longer if politicians could find the courage to close down a failed experiment. As a bonus, Britain would save billions if health care were provided privately rather than through the NHS.

Another survey, this time done by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, concluded that Britain came 28th out of 30 countries for health care. Only Turkey and Israel came below Britain. The survey showed that Britain has fewer doctors, nurses, hospital beds and medical scanners than almost all other wealthy nations. And yet we spend a huge part of our health care budget on performing transplant operations we cannot afford – while allowing people to die of diseases which could easily be prevented or treated.

When will patients stop supporting the National Health Service, an organisation which long ago proved itself to be an expensive and deadly mistake. Doctors working for the NHS find that they eventually end up being sucked in by the system’s bureaucratic demands; decision making and resource allocation is determined not by the needs of patients but by the needs of the system. Doctors no longer have time to think, to do any research or even to make proper diagnoses.

It is important to remember that the NHS was designed by politicians, doctors and drug companies for their own benefit. That is why it is a disaster for patients and always will be. With the money spent on the NHS we could all have excellent private health care insurance.

I have absolutely no doubt that the NHS kills far more people, through the deadly incompetence produced by the dead hand of bureaucracy, than all the nation’s terrorists, criminals and drunken motorists mange to kill between them.

The NHS kills more people every year than the much publicised disease Ebola kills worldwide. That’s not an exaggeration. It’s a plain, unvarnished fact.

In addition to the waste, the extraordinarily dangerous levels of bureaucracy and the failure to put the needs of patients above the needs of the staff and the organisation itself, there is no doubt that State controlled medicine encourages patients to be far too reliant on the system (‘I will eat and drink whatever I want and it is your duty to make me better when I fall ill’) and fosters a dangerous, absurd and expensive sense of entitlement.

Let’s start campaigning to get rid of the NHS.

Once we do, we will be healthier and live longer.

Taken from The Return of the Disgruntled Man by Vernon Coleman, available on Amazon

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2016