It’s an argument that has been running in these pages, and elsewhere, for years! I suppose my views have changed little; I believe there are some good people doing their best to provide a first class service in the NHS. I believe the management structure is incredibly inept though driven by political need, not health requirement. I also believe that the NHS can be LETHAL for your health and this morning I read that the Royal College of Surgeons agrees!
A new report highlights figures that show that about 170,000 patients undergo emergency abdominal operations each year. Of these, 100,000 will develop complications and 25,000 of these patients will die. Among the elderly, deaths can climb to 40%.
The report also says that while survival rates vary from hospital to hospital, there can even be significant differences from day-to-day within the same institution.
The report says that poor access to facilities such as scanners and operating theatres means diagnosis is sometimes slow, not enough patients receive critical care after surgery and when they do it is for too short a time. It also says less experienced junior staff are often left to deal with complex and dangerous cases.
There is also the suggestion that elective or planned surgery has been prioritised over emergency surgery and some may link this to the pressure on hospitals to bring down waiting lists.
I believe the fatality rate is 400% HIGHER than in the USA, where the wicked private sector…erm…provides a much superior service. This is a damning report which will be met with supreme indifference. The NHS is a law onto itself, it’s too big to care about such minor statistics as a 40% death rate amongst patients in this important category.
Have you ever been in an NHS hospital in the late evening, or at the weekend? Consultants are rarer on the ground than women drivers in downtown Riyadh and that is one reason swift care levels fall. The reason you cannot find a consultant about the place is because their contracts allow for this. There are important golf courses to be played and Monday comes soon enough. Do you blame the Consultants or do you blame those who agreed such contracts? Do you blame the hospitals or the politicians who insist socialised healthcare uber alles is the only way forward?
The bottom line is that if you elderly and require weekend emergency surgery, best you don’t start reading any long books.
The NHS can kill and unfortunately our society has become inured to the dysfunctionalism that lies at the heart of this “envy of the world” by decades of propaganda. I’m not necessarily saying that the NHS must be privatised but I am saying it needs radical surgery.