Thursday, 15 May 2008

The NHS is the envy of the world

Myself and Mrs NotaSheep have recently spent more time in hospitals, both private and NHS, than we would have liked to have done and one thing has been abundantly clear - the NHS is nothing to be envious of. The comparison between the facilities, the staff, the cleanliness (I could go on) at NHS hospitals and Private hospitals does not reflect well on the NHS. Every NHS hospital we have visited has been dirty, the staff disinterested, unhelpful and untidy, the waits interminable; whilst the Private hospitals have been all but spotlessly clean, the staff efficient, helpful and smartly dressed and of course the waiting has been inconsequential.

If the NHS is "the envy of the world" as we used to be often told by this Labour government, then why have no other major industrialised countries copied it?

The Tangled Web has a good article on the NHS today, do read the whole thing but here are four of the points David Vance makes that I think bear repeating:

"1. According to the NHS, 35,000 people die each year "un-necessarily" in NHS hospitals. The death toll in Iraq in 2006 was 35,000 - according to the UN.

Does any other major industrialised country have such a high hospital unnecessary death rate?

2. 6500 people die each year from hospital-acquired infections in the UK. The average figure for northern Europe is 100.

65 times the death rate of the northern Europe average, is that something to be proud of? Maybe this is something that Gordon Brown and his team of incompetents could be questioned about?

3. Since Labour came to power, overall numbers of NHS staff has risen by 20%. The number of managers, however, has increased by 100%, from 20,000 to 40,000. At the same time, the number of hospital beds has fallen from 250,000 to 180,00. In 2007, the NHS confederation argued there should be 195,000 managers - more than one per bed.

The next time Gordon Brown or one of his fellow idiots tries to claim during an interview that all is wonderful in the NHS and if it isn't, at least "we" have "invested" so much money in the NHS, perhaps these figures could be raised and the point pressed home.

4. In 2003, the NHS launched a new IT system which would cost £2.3 billion. This was revised in subsequent years to £6 billion. Then to £9 billion. Finally it has been moved up to £12.4 billion The time scale for completion has moved from 2 to 10 years, but with no guarantee this will happen."

This is one of the biggest scandals of this Labour government, the money spent for so little return is criminal. This Labour government has time after time fallen prey to sharp suited, fast talking IT consultancy companies and their lack of expertise in specifying what they require from a system has been found out time after time. I believe that Gordon Brown should be held personally responsible for the money wasted on each major IT system and PFI scheme and I would be happy to see him work to pay part of the debt off by cleaning the toilets in a gastroenterology ward for the rest of his natural life. Unfortunately, instead of this, he will retire on his huge publicly funded pension, be paid handsomely to write his self-serving memoirs and live comfortably for years - isn't that a depressing thought?

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