Brits not happy with UK’s socialized healthcare system

Undermining socialized healthcare proponents like candidates Clinton, Obama, and Edwards (not to mention this useful idiot), all of whom treat government-run healthcare like it’s the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel, the Daily Mail reports today that Brits are running, not walking, away from socialized medicine:

Record numbers of Britons are travelling abroad for medical treatment to escape the NHS – with 70,000 patients expected to fly out this year.

And by the end of the decade 200,000 “health tourists” will fly as far as Malaysa and South Africa for major surgery to avoid long waiting lists and the rising threat of superbugs, according to a new report.

The first survey of Britons opting for treatment overseas shows that fears of hospital infections and frustration of often waiting months for operations are fuelling the increasing trend.

Patients needing major heart surgery, hip operations and cataracts are using the internet to book operations to be carried out thousands of miles away.


Almost all of those who had received treatment abroad said they would do the same again, with patients pointing out that some hospitals in India had screening policies for the superbug MRSA that have yet to be introduced in this country.

Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary, said the figures were a “terrible indictment” of government policies that were undermining the efforts of NHS staff to provide quality services.

The findings come amid further revelations about the Government’s mishandling of NHS policies, and ahead of official statistics that will embarrass ministers.

On Wednesday, figures are expected to show rising numbers of hospital infections. Cases of the superbug Clostridium difficile, which have risen five-fold in the past decade, are expected to increase beyond the 55,000 cases reported last year.

On the same day, statistics will show that vast sums have been spent on pay, with GPs’ earnings rising by more than 50 per cent in three years to an average of more than £110,000.

New research shows that growing NHS bureaucracy has left nurses with little time to see patients – most spending long periods dealing with paperwork.

Katherine Murphy, of the Patients’ Association, said the health tourism figures reflected shrinking public faith in the Government’s handling of the NHS.

The dental industry is not doing so well either in the UK, too (h/t: Don Surber):

Falling numbers of NHS dentists are forcing many patients to go without treatment or even try pulling out their own teeth, a study has revealed.

Almost a fifth (19%) of those questioned said they had missed out on dental work because of the cost.

The research found 6% had even resorted to treating themselves because they could not find a dentist.

The 5,000-plus patients who were interviewed also spoke of taking out their own teeth or fixing broken crowns with glue.

One person in Lancashire said he had carried out 14 separate extractions with a pair of pliers.


Almost three fifths (58%) of dentists blamed new contracts brought in by the Government last year.

Four out of 10 (41%) felt they had an “excessive” workload with 29% saying they had problems recruiting or retaining dentists.

More than 5,200 patients and 750 dentitsts were interviewed as part of the Dentistry Watch survey carried out by the PPI Forums.

Think any of the far left Democrats in this country who believe the sun rises and sets on socialized medicine will pay any attention to this news? Probably not, and even if they did and were questioned about it, how much you wanna bet they’d acknowledge it was bad in the UK but also claim at the same time that their plan “would work”?

Back in February, Walter Williams wrote a piece about socialized medicine, noting not only the problems in the UK, but Canada as well:

The story is no better in Canada’s national health care system. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based Fraser Institute has a yearly publication titled, “Waiting Your Turn.” Its 2006 edition gives waiting times, by treatments, from a person’s referral by a general practitioner to treatment by a specialist. The shortest waiting time was for oncology (4.9 weeks). The longest waiting time was for orthopedic surgery (40.3 weeks), followed by plastic surgery (35.4 weeks) and neurosurgery (31.7 weeks).

Canadians face significant waiting times for various diagnostics such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound scans. The median wait for a CT scan across Canada was 4.3 weeks, but in Prince Edward Island, it’s 9 weeks. A Canadian’s median wait for an MRI was 10.3 weeks, but in Newfoundland, patients waited 28 weeks. Finally, the median wait for an ultrasound was 3.8 weeks across Canada, but in Manitoba and Prince Edward Island it was 8 weeks.

Despite the long waiting times Canadians suffer, sometimes resulting in death, under federal law, private clinics are not legally allowed to provide services covered by the Canada Health Act. Regardless of this prohibition, a few black-market clinics service patients who are willing to break the law to get treatment. In British Columbia, for example, Bill 82 provides that a physician can be fined up to $20,000 for accepting fees for surgery. According to a Canada News article, “Shortage of Doctors and Nurses Could Hurt Medicare Reforms” (3/5/03), about 10,000 doctors left Canada during the 1990s.

There’s help for some Canadian patients. According to a Canadian Medical Association Journal article, “U.S. Hospitals Use Waiting-List Woes to Woo Canadians” (2/22/2000), “British Columbia patients fed up with sojourns on waiting lists as they await tests or treatment are being wooed by a hospital in Washington state that has begun offering package deals. A second U.S. hospital is also considering marketing its services.” One of the attractions is that an MRI, which can take anywhere from 10 to 28 weeks in Canada, can be had in two days at Olympic Memorial Hospital in Port Angeles, Wash. Already, Cleveland is Canada’s hip-replacement center.

Michael van der Galiën writes about the problems he’s (and others) had with the Dutch version of socialized healthcare and what they’re doing to try and fix it:

As far as I know, even the Dutch make fun of the British system. Having said that, only a couple of years ago many people here criticized the system for creating, among other things, waiting lines. If you’ve got to undergo surgery, most people don’t wish to wait, say, nine months. When I had a herniated disk (may God bless kickboxing), I had to wait as well for a couple of months before receiving treatment. I can tell you that having to wait while you’re in tremendous pain and can’t do anything is quite infuriating.

To deal with it, our government coalition decided to… give more freedom to insurance companies. In other words, less rules, more… well… privatization really. The idea is to create more competition (which obviously doesn’t exist in a truly socialized system), this competition would then – they hope – reduce the waiting lines. I agree with these measures but fear that as long as the government keeps interfering, they won’t work as well as they could / should. We need more competition, less government in our system. If the US wants to learn from Europe, it has to find a way to balance freedom / competition with universal (socialized) health care better than we did.

Only if a Democrat gets elected next year will the US try to “learn from Europe” – and I don’t see that as a good thing. At all. Not on healthcare, nor much of anything else.

Captain Ed gets to the heart of the matter:

And of course, what this shows is that those who have the money will have the resources to get medical care — and they know better than to use the NHS. People who can afford the double hit of their taxes (which fund NHS) and private medical care manage to do so, and they don’t stop at British private medical resources to get it. They have “globalized” medical care by shopping for services, using competition to drive down cost and improve delivery of services.

If Britain would allow those kinds of market forces to work in its health industry rather than impose the kind of top-down government management that NHS represents, they might keep that money in Britain. If the US wants to keep from creating its own surgical tourism industry as an export, we should learn this lesson, and quickly.

The self-hating left here in the US are obsessed with wanting our country to be more like Europe, especially the UK – on just about every issue, like healthcare, gun control, capitalism, globalism, and fighting (or not) terrorism, in spite of the fact that there are multiple examples of evidence to the contrary to their belief that Europeans get everything right and we get everything wrong. This is just one more example. Not that I expect the socialized medicine afficionados running for president to give it much notice.

I can just see it now, a nightmare scenario where socialized medicine is implemented here in the US. It would, of course, be nothing but a huge bureaucratic mess, and as it kept getting worse, big-government Democrats would never admit years later that they were wrong to push for the program in the first place. Instead, they’d do what they always do: try to fix the mistakes which they created. And as usual, “the fix” would only make the problems worse. Caseinpoint.


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