Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Paging Dr. Berwick

It would appear that Dr. Donald Berwick's (President Obama's pick to head Medicare and Medicaid) beloved British health care system is in some trouble.

Some of the most common operations — including hip replacements and cataract surgery — will be rationed as part of attempts to save billions of pounds, despite government promises that front-line services would be protected.

How would you describe what is happening in the paragraph above? We think it's reasonable to assume given the language that is used and given the specific action that is taken to achieve the desired result, what is happening in that paragraph is "rationing".

Patients’ groups have described the measures as “astonishingly brutal”.

Eye surgery could delay hip operations An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has uncovered widespread cuts planned across the NHS, many of which have already been agreed by senior health service officials. They include:

* Restrictions on some of the most basic and common operations, including hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery and orthodontic procedures.

* Plans to cut hundreds of thousands of pounds from budgets for the terminally ill, with dying cancer patients to be told to manage their own symptoms if their condition worsens at evenings or weekends.

* The closure of nursing homes for the elderly.

* A reduction in acute hospital beds, including those for the mentally ill, with targets to discourage GPs from sending patients to hospitals and reduce the number of people using accident and emergency departments.

* Tighter rationing of NHS funding for IVF treatment, and for surgery for obesity.

* Thousands of job losses at NHS hospitals, including 500 staff to go at a trust where cancer patients recently suffered delays in diagnosis and treatment because of staff shortages.

* Cost-cutting programmes in paediatric and maternity services, care of the elderly and services that provide respite breaks to long-term carers.

Again, rationing, delays, cuts, job losses, cost-cutting programs, reduction (of services), closure(s), not our words but theirs used to describe the inevitable results of government-managed health care.

When you declare particular goods and services as a right, why should it surprise anybody when those rights to which everyone is entitled start costing far more than they would if they were subject to market forces?

The nerve of the British pols to start denying British citizens their "rights".

Perhaps the Senate confirmation hearings for Dr. Berwick will provide the appropriate platform to get his reaction to what is happening over in England and to explain how it is the same thing will not be happening over here.


W.C. Varones said...

I can't believe the number of British doctors, nurses, and patients who are lying about conditions under the NHS.

As James Taranto often reminds us, we can take comfort in the words of

former Enron adviser Paul Krugman: "In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We've all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false."

SarahB said...

I can't believe this guy is still flying under the radar.