I was among several acquaintances the other day when someone who was telling a story about a trip to the doctor concluded the tale with the sarcastic line “the wonders of for-profit health care”. I chimed in that if one thinks socialized medicine is better, just read up on Britain’s NHS. “It’s falling apart over there,” I concluded. The first guy challenged me: where did I get my information? Before I could finish saying the Daily Mail, he interrupted. “Terrible source!” he screamed. “The worst!” Maybe so. But the stories I read are personal accounts or drawn from official reports, not opinion pieces.
But omit any stories from the Daily Mail, and see if you still don’t agree with me.
I particularly like this one from the Telegraph (also a conservative paper, but so what?):
A test to determine if elderly patients will die within 30 days of being admitted to hospital has been developed by doctors to give them the chance to go home or say goodbye to loved ones.
Health experts say the checklist will prevent futile and expensive medical treatments which merely prolong suffering.
The screening test looks at 29 indicators of health, including age, frailty, illness, mental impairment, previous emergency admissions and heart rate and produces a percentage chance of death within one month and 12 weeks.
Researchers say the aim of Critera for Screening and Triaging to Appropriate aLternative care, or CriSTAL for short, is to kick-start frank discussions about end of life care, and minimise the risk of invasive ineffective treatment.
CriSTAL. From the Same people who brought you the rationaing body, NICE:
The NHS is to delay the introduction of a highly expensive drug that can save the lives of people infected with the hepatitis C virus. The move by NHS England is unprecedented, because the NHS rationing body, Nice (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) has approved the drug. Nice says sofosbuvir is cost-effective, because it is a cure for people who would otherwise run up huge NHS bills.
Back to CriSTAL:
Earlier this week Professor Sir Mike Richards, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals for the Care Quality Commission, warned that dying patients are receiving wide variations in care because of hospital failure to replace the Liverpool Care Pathway.
The controversial end-of-life plan was scrapped after a review of the regime found that hospital staff wrongly interpreted its guidance for care of the dying, leading to patients being drugged and deprived of fluids in their last weeks of life.
Most people I know, even old and infirm people, don’t want to be kept alive at any cost (personal or financial). But do we really want the government, with no higher appeal, making the last call? Especially with the history of the Liverpool protocol? And so much more evidence that NHS incompetence has led to thousands of deaths?
Don’t take my word for it. Google it yourself.