Saturday, 14 December 2013

The other side

Ever since the scandal at Stafford Hospital was revealed the media have presented us with a steady stream of reports about how supposedly awful the NHS is. The impression conveyed is that the whole of the NHS is in meltdown. We never get stories about the vast majority of happy punters, going through a system that, in my experience, functions pretty well most of the time, usually in spite of the best efforts of those in charge to fuck things up. In a setup as big as the NHS there are bound to be occasions when things go wrong, but politicians and the media refuse to accept the simple statistical fact that half of all hospitals, GP surgeries etc will be below average in anything you care to measure.

The NHS is constantly compared with health systems in other countries, and the comparison is invariably unfavorable. I have no doubt that you could take the health system of any developed nation at random and present it in as bad, if not worse light, if you simply cherry picked for the grim stuff as they do with the NHS. I've presented one or two stories here featuring quite unbelievably poor care from other countries, and here is another, where a dead patient lay undiscovered in a hospital for two weeks. I was once involved in a case where a stiff (member of staff) was discovered in an unexpected place in a hospital, but it had only been there a few hours. One wonders if, in the case from America, did anyone notice the smell?

It seems the grass is not always greener.

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