Sunday, August 16, 2009

The NHS is NOT the best in the world

When I lived in England I was always a supporter of the NHS. Luckily I have rarely had to use its services, but from others I understood it was good although not perfect. However, maybe for patriotic reasons I thought it was one of the best health services in the world.

However, now I am not sure. Since moving to Israel I have seen how hospitals and doctors surgeries look much cleaner than in England and in terms of waiting to see the doctor times are much shorter.

Waiting times are hours instead of days, and days instead of weeks and months.

Given the current debate in the UK and America over health services, what I find interesting is that former Brits feel that the Israeli health system is much better than the NHS, while Americans think that the health system in America is better than in Israel. Maybe this gives some idea about where the NHS lies.

I have never been an expert on funding health systems, but I also think the Israeli system is quite a good model.

There are four health insurance providers in Israel, and everone must be a member of one of these providers. Therefore there is some competition ans these providers compete to attract users by providing better services.

Everyone has at least a basic cover, partly paid by Government and partly paid for by a national insurance contribution which comes out of your wage. Individuals are than either to get extra insurance cover from their provider or just pay extra for services which are not covered by the basic insurance.

I don't know how good a system is but overall it is definitely better than Britain's NHS which is badly in need of reform.

1 comment:

Don't Call Me Dave said...

Well said Richard

It seems that we cannot have an intelligent debate in the UK about the state of the NHS for fear of being attacked by the usual suspects on the left. “The nasty Tories want to close the NHS” is their battle cry. It was exactly the same in the 1980s and 1990s when people wanted to debate immigration. To even suggest that there should be a limit had you labelled as xenophobic or even racist.

The reality is that the NHS, as an institution, is bloated, wasteful and hugely inefficient. Nobody doubts the dedication of the doctors, nurses and other front line workers, but under this Government, billions has been poured into the ‘system’ for little or no benefit to patients and taxpayers.

Tens of thousands of managers have been employed in pointless and worthless non jobs. Billions have been spent on a computer system which doesn’t work. The public are not stupid – they know that the NHS does not deliver the quality services that they are paying for. There is little doubt that with a simplified management structure, and less bureaucracy, better patient services could be delivered at a much lower cost.

In what appears to be a calculated sop to the left, David Cameron sneeringly slapped down Daniel Hannan for suggesting the NHS was not perfect. Hannan has been talking about the need for NHS reform for over a year and the longer we leave it to fix the patient, the more it will ultimately cost.