One of the few traditional Conservatives to have served on the Tory front bench under Cameron, Paterson was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland before being promoted to the more high profile role of Secretary of State for Defra.

Candidate of the day

Owen Paterson

One day to go and Sir John Major has weighed in. “Labour divides to rule. To win votes they will turn rich against poor; north against south; worker against boss." We hope we don't wake up with them on Friday.

Hero of the day

Sir John Major

Another awful Labour woman. The fact Ed Miliband’s carved his pledges in stone doesn't mean he might not break them, campaign chief Lucy Powell has said.

Villain of the day

Lucy Powell

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THE REAL CONSERVATIVE MANIFESTO

Back marriage. Restore grammar schools. Leave the EU.

Karen Harradine: Terminate the atrocious, socialist NHS

(In the first part of a series of alternative manifesto ideas, Karen Harradine sets out her ideas on healthcare)

My friend was beautiful, intelligent and kind. In the spring of 2015 she experienced crippling stomach pains. Her symptoms were repeatedly dismissed by various GPs as viruses, IBS or stress. Three months later my friend died from ovarian cancer. She was only 43, the same age my sister was when she died of mouth cancer nine months earlier. If only they had seen competent GPs then they would probably still be alive. But a decent GP is a rarity in the National Health Service (NHS).

Unfortunately, these tragedies occur way too often because spineless politicians continue to inflict the ghastly NHS on us. Ignore the wailing about cuts and austerity. The reality is that the health budget comprises the second largest government spend, surpassed only by social protection. From 2017-2018 the NHS will receive £149 billion. In comparison only £48 billion will be allocated to defence.

Despite this massive public expenditure, the NHS no longer functions as a competent healthcare provider to British citizens. Like the American legal system, it has mutated into an industry and is no longer the service it was intended to be. The NHS does very little else except enrich management consultants, shore up political virtue-signalling and exasperate most of us.

The narrative that the government is heartless if it does not provide free healthcare for all shows no sign of abating. The welfare state, of which the NHS is part, has turned too many Britons into whining children. This is uncomfortable for an immigrant like myself - who has always admired the UK - to witness.

The NHS is in its death throes. It is now nothing more than a political football, constantly kicked around by politicians while millions of UK citizens suffer needlessly from its incompetence, unaccountable surgeons, rude consultants, inept GPs, long waiting lists and dirty hospitals. I have lived on four continents in my almost 50 years of life. I have yet to hear anyone, other than the British, claim that the NHS is the envy of the world. This is a delusional myth - a parable told as part of the ridiculous beautification of a failing and diabolical healthcare system in which nurses are worshipped as saints and doctors as gods. Revering the NHS like a religion only serves to harm the sick.

A complete change of thinking is needed. We are not the USSR. The socialist concept that one size fits all is ludicrous, especially when applied to our medical needs. A globalised attitude to healthcare is wonderful for those who are well or can afford the very expensive and limited range of private medical aid options in the UK. But for the rest of us with health issues, like myself who is caught in the living death of ME/CFS, the NHS impairs far more than it helps. Barely any competition for healthcare provision exists, so the NHS has no incentive to improve.

The NHS is bankrupting the government. Taxpayers can no longer afford to finance medical costs stemming from lifestyle diseases. Uncontrolled immigration and increased life spans are also placing unprecedented pressure onto the NHS. But one of the biggest drains on its resources is health tourism. I have lived in and visited many countries. Whenever I needed to see a doctor overseas I had to show my passport and pay before I was even let through the door - regardless of whether it was a government or private service. Asking a non-citizen to pay for their medical costs is not a human rights infringement. The real infringement is on the UK taxpayer. Anyone who can afford to visit the UK as a tourist can also afford their own travel insurance.

From April onwards the NHS is required to charge overseas patients for non-urgent treatment. We have heard very little on how effective this policy is. I suspect not very. And surely overseas visitors should be charged for emergency medical services as well. We really need to shake off this idea that paying for health care is a crime against humanity – otherwise we will continue to be inflicted by the awful failings of the NHS.

We don’t want to imitate the US medical system where illness can be potentially ruinous. But we need a balance. The UK desperately needs a competent and efficient two-tier medical system. This truly would be a compassionate act. Privatisation is not a dirty word. And neither is government.

Malaysia, a much poorer country than the UK, has an effective two-tier healthcare system, partly comprised of a basic government health service funded by taxpayers. But Malaysians can also opt to go private far more easily than we can. Their survival rates, quality and access to healthcare far surpass ours. The viable option of private medical aid significantly reduces pressures on their public health service.

We should have the same options in the UK. The Labour Party foolishly wants to hike up taxes on private medical insurance - thereby punishing us for wanting a choice.

This is shortsighted. Private medical aid schemes should be encouraged. Increased competition will lower the costs of these schemes - making them an affordable and feasible option for more of us. This means that fewer of us will need to use the NHS, thereby freeing up its resources for those who really require them. The government could then divert some its exorbitant healthcare funding to pensions and education.

My own illness has been hampered by the lack of a viable two-tier healthcare system. I have felt desperation in wanting to be well but knowing that I had no choice but to rely on the atrocious NHS. I would have done anything to have had competent medical care at the onset of my ME/CFS. This would have aided my recovery but I could not afford the extravagant cost of UK private care. So I had no choice but to depend on the NHS and I have suffered because of it.

The time has come to execute the outdated NHS and let a more streamlined, functional and sensible reincarnation take its place. Will Theresa May be brave enough to do this and help millions of British citizens suffering pointlessly from such a useless, wasteful and inadequate healthcare system? After all a quick death is better than a slow death. The UK urgently needs a viable two-tier healthcare system. It can no longer afford a singular one endlessly swallowing taxpayers’ money down its gaping mouth.

Karen Harradine

  • Colkitto03

    My family have private health care through my work (40% taxed) but via that still have to go to the NHS sometimes.
    What is striking between the Private and NHS experience is the gap in politeness, civility, friendliness and courtesy that exists between staff working in either sector.
    What makes this odd is that many heath professionals will actually work in both sectors.
    What is it about the NHS that leads staff to drop social norms and fell they can behave in a surly and impolite manner? Even a simple hello and goodbye is a struggle for many of them.
    I have no reason to believe that they behave so dismissively to people outside work, so it must be the NHS culture.

    • Bob Marshall

      Quite so, Colkitto03. I know it is only a minor niggle, and to be honest, I have always been treated reasonably well in NHS hospitals. What does annoy me is that some young girl I have never met, young enough to be my grand-daughter, assumes we are on first name terms the moment she and I meet.

      What is wrong with ‘Mr Marshall’ and ‘nurse’? I’m sure it used to be that way.

      • Corblimey

        That’s nothing, the NHS removed most of my mother-in-law’s brain without telling her. She suddenly became kind and considerate and called everybody luv.

  • Shazza

    The NHS is run for the benefit of its employees/management consultants, etc. – the patients are an inconvenient necessity.

    • choccycobnobs

      How very true. If there was a way of reforming that and removing the iNternational Health Service aspect then it might be saveable.

    • barrydavies

      Do you have any idea how ridiculous that statement is, I never saw any benefit in being bled on puked on having urine down my trousers or having to clear up copious amounts of pooh, I never got any personal benefit from sitting with someone as they passed away I spent 25 years not being paid a lot walking miles and aiding people with health care deficits that they couldn’t cope with themselves, your crass statement shows a complete lack of understanding and humanity.

      • Pat

        But you got more back than you put in whether in money or a sense of sainthood that the tone of your posts belies. Either that or you didn’t in fact work there.

        • barrydavies

          Don’t be such a crass individual, I was responding to the stupid claim by Shazza, You think it’s easy why don’t you try it, If this is a reflection of Conservative women god help us.

  • I’m in favour of both state and private hospitals and that we should have a choice. In my view we should have the choice to go private and receive an appropriate tax refund if one can show that one has an approved insurance policy. I’m not suggesting that the tax refund should necessarily cover the full cost of the policy, but could perhaps equal the average amount spent by the NHS per patient. Thus the NHS would still receive the same per capita funding and there should not be any change in its overall financial position.
    As the present private hospitals generally don’t provide A&E facilities or certain treatments, such treatment would continue to be provided by the NHS with the costs being reclaimed from the individual’s insurer.
    I believe that one of the advantages is that there would be an element of competition and innovation. I’m sure it would show that a large part of the NHS management overhead is totally unnecessary! I understand that something along these lines happens in Australia.
    I also believe that we should do something similar with our schools allowing parents choice of educational facilities for their children.

  • Coniston

    I have (thankfully) only needed the NHS relatively few times – in hospital and with my GP. I have to say that I have been always treated extremely well, both in hospital and by my GP.
    But I agree that the NHS in its present form is unsustainable. Below is a comment I sent to another website some time ago:
    Our Health Services do need more money, but there needs to be a complete change in how we finance health (and social care). The NHS may have been the best health service in the world when it started, but it is not now.
    1) No other country has copied our NHS (especially our ‘free on demand’ service).
    2) Health outcomes are better (often much better) than ours in many European countries.
    3) From what I have read, the French system is better than ours – part of the cost is covered by insurance, which is often part of an employment package. People do not have to pay for cancer treatment, etc. People have to pay to see a GP (which is quick, and the GP has more time for each patient. Much of the cost is quickly refunded with the insurance card – often provided by employers).
    4) The problem will be with the NHS staff, who mostly cannot think outside the box – which they have been used to for the last 70 years. They are mostly very dedicated and hard working, but surely they must realise that the present system cannot possibly continue.
    5) Politicians and NHS leaders should go to see how the best European Health Services work, and be prepared to make drastic changes to the NHS to bring it into line with the best practices abroad.

  • Mike Hunt

    I agree we need to clamp down on Health Tourism – this could be done with a simple Health care entitlement card. A £20 charge to see GP might also be worth considering with exemptions.
    But we still need a system that works for all whether they are a homeless drunk or a company director . As for treating people by lifestyle choices , where would this stop ? You go mountain biking and break your leg? That’s your choice you pay? Are we really saying we want a society that would abandon a drug addict to die in the gutter ? Not what I want ! Also people living challenging lifestyle , many people make a wrong choice in life they shouldn’t be punisher for this .

    • Kathy Gyngell

      Unfortunately the NHS pays loads to keep addicts living in the gutter (metaphorically speaking) it is called state sponsored methadone addiction plus welfare to fund more street drugs …… Pity the money is not spent in a more enlightened way …

      • Mike Hunt

        I know where your coming on this and it would be good to have drug treatment programmes that worked , but they don’t, a few escape the drug lifestyle but many won’t . They detox them , clean them up and they go back on the streets into the same world that helped them into addiction, they so easily slip back into addiction . They will struggle to get a job, what employer would want them ? Handing out methadone helps the addicts deal with life and they are less likely to commit crime which benefits us all . Also the doses handed out are measured and clean. Street heroine is cut with all sorts of other stuff . Once hooked on heroine it’s a horrible lifestyle . There doesn’t seem to be an answer to the drugs problem . The NHS is thankfully there for everyone the good the bad the ugly , it’s a bit like the Church , would your church turn away some one who did fit the mould?

  • weirdvisions

    I think it depends on what part of the country you live. In my neck of the woods we have both good NHS GPs (I can’t fault mine) and some first class consultants (I’m certainly not going to fault the two excellent orthopaedic surgeons who replaced my mother’s hip and did a first rate job).

    Mind you I have come across some shocking, totally inadequate individuals that leads to me ask, “How they heck did they become a doctor? Were they giving out medical degrees on toilet paper?”

    The NHS certainly needs purging but there are clinical staff who are performing well and need support, not a P45.

  • James

    Yes, of course the NHS needs to be put out of its misery.

    And the recent IT problems just demonstrated how badly managed and useless it is; any competent organisation would have anticipated the threat and been prepared.

    But it’s symptomatic of the current “New Labour Conservatives” that all they can do is indulge in a silly competition with Labour as to who can pour more money into this organisation.

  • We need to start realising that healthcare is a privilege, not a human right. You want it, you pay for it.

    • barrydavies

      We need to start realising there are more things in life than having a wad of cash in the bank earned from other peoples works and if you let all the workers die off then what will you do?

    • barrydavies

      We need to start realising that if you don’t look after the workers the rich people who can afford health care would go broke, but hey don’t let facts get in the way of your vicious and callous ideation.

  • paul parmenter

    When I saw this headline, I nearly fell off my chair. Karen Harradine wanting to slaughter the holy bovine that has been worshipped as untouchable for the last 70 years? Nothing short of blasphemy, heresy, insanity, and any other expression of outraged horror you can think of. Go to the naughty step, Karen, kneel and pray for forgiveness for your sins as you pour ashes on your head.

    But she is uncomfortably close to being right. The NHS suffers from the same malaise that afflicts all massive state monopolies or near-monopolies: huge bureaucracies with no effective accountability, wedded to the certainty that nobody needs to bother too much, work too hard or meet any great standard, because it is almost impossible to be sacked, and there will always be a bottomless pit of taxpayers’ money available to fund it all. Plus in this case, the added bonus of being able to pose as heroes and heroines in an absolutely vital industry that everyone supposedly loves and is above criticism.

    The NHS is a huge mixed bag. It contains thousands of dedicated, honest, hard-working and committed individuals, who save lives and relieve pain and distress. It also contains thousands of wasters who do the minimum to get by, who would rather be somewhere else, and whose main motivation is to clock watch until it is time to collect their next pay packet. This is not random insulting. My wife worked in the NHS for many years and saw it all. Every day, she would come home with a new story of inefficiency, of stupidity, of wasted money, of hopeless employees who caused more work than they ever performed, of chronically bad management and of creaking, outdated systems that everyone knew were not working, but nobody could do anything about. I met some of the people she had to work with, and found myself agreeing with her opinions. Some of them should have simply been sacked, because they were truly useless and dragged everyone else down. But there they were, still trundling along happily with a soft job for life just as long as they didn’t actually kill anyone or burn the place down. But this is inevitable: if you employ huge numbers in a nationalised industry, they will always be a mixed bag of good and bad.

    Over the years, I also have watched how additional functions and purposes have gradually crept into and taken over the NHS’ agenda. If you think the purpose of the NHS is to take care of the nation’s health, nothing less and nothing more, think again. I can add at least two others that have nothing to do with improving anyone’s health but are vastly damaging: these are to soak up unemployment by inventing unnecessary jobs for those who could not get work anywhere else; and to act as a propaganda device for governments. We see the latter at work at every election: a bidding war between the parties to see who can promise the greatest increase in spending and the bigger number of new doctors and nurses that are always coming our way – but somehow never seem to arrive, or if they do, they do not make anything better. Every government increases spending on the health service by “more than inflation”; and every government presides over crisis after crisis. Scarcely a week goes by without another one hitting the headlines, whoever is in power. I sometimes think we ought to rename it as “NHS in crisis” because that is its usual state. But still, we must all carry on worshipping and stuffing money into this crippled, bloated, bleeding, bellowing beast as it struggles to keep itself upright.

    The reality is that there will never be enough money to fund the NHS all the while it seeks the impossible aim of making us all healthy and disease free, and does so with a captive clientele of millions of people (plus the free riders from outside the UK). It is not fit for that purpose; either the purpose has to change, or something better needs to be found. This is the first step, to get agreement that it cannot go on like this. But alas, all I see from our political parties is the old mantra that this “envy of the world” must be sustained in its current form by yet more billions of taxpayers’ money that will magically solve all its problems.

    • Sargv

      NHS is a massive voting block with corporate interests of its own. We should never forget that when considering reforms.

      • Groan

        As I have worked for the NHS I think this is hugely important. It is indeed a vast direct employer and also has a huge reach in terms of subcontractors and suppliers. And it is to all intents and purposes a branch of the civil service. If education has a “blob” then the NHS makes it seem like a small spot.

        • barrydavies

          It is the outsourcing that is the seat of the problems, because like everything the successive government s have privatised we wind up with a more expensive sub optimal service.

    • Labour_is_bunk

      Brilliant post.

      “the impossible aim of making us all healthy and disease free” – IMV the NHS is very poor at preventative medicine.

      • paul parmenter

        Exactly so. It is almost totally reactive – although I guess that is inevitable, given that it positively invites everyone to come to its door for every ailment, big or small, real or imagined. So it could never cope with the perpetual surge, which takes priority over prevention. This also points to another big problem: it is demand-driven. So those who demand, get the attention; those who soldier on without making a fuss, get left out and ignored.

        • barrydavies

          So you are saying no one should use the NHS then? I think we should stop selling cars, after all that is demand driven and anyone can turn up with a wad of cash and buy one.

          • paul parmenter

            “So you are saying no one should use the NHS then?”

            A bizarre conclusion from my comments! Of course I am not saying that.

            I am just pointing out ways in which I think the NHS is not working properly to achieve its supposed purposes. As I have stated elsewhere, the first step in rectifying any problem is to recognise that there is a problem in the first place. To stagger on with things falling apart around your ears, and refusing to do anything to change because you insist that the system is the right one, is not any kind of answer. A demand-driven NHS will never work for everyone, only for those who demand.

      • barrydavies

        Only idiots refer to preventitive medicine as a panacea to all that ails us, lets be honest we know smoking harms you, but the government hasn’t banned cigarettes cigars or other tobacco products, we know alcohol can be bad for you but it is still available, we know overeating can be harmful, but the streets are full of fast food outlets. Preventitive medicine is a pipe dream it is a non starter and anyone with any insight into human beings realises that.

        • paul parmenter

          I disagree. Prevention is better than cure, and it works.

          How do we know that smoking is harmful? Because the medical profession eventually got its act together and summoned up the balls to tell us, in the face of what was, at the time, a powerful lobby of tobacco companies that were making millions out of the industry, and governments that were happy to rake in millions more from taxing smokers. Any link between smoking and lung disease was denied by those vested interests, for years.

          It was only a determined prevention campaign that finally turned the tide and induced the majority to give up smoking, and ultimately forced even the government to ban tobacco ads and impose warning labels on cigarette packets. That was prevention in action, successfully saving lives. Without it, millions of people would still be choking to death on poisonous smoke everywhere, and our hospitals would have been full of lung cancer patients. Yes, they would have been doing their best to save those patients, but only after the damage was done. There would have been nothing actually to stop the conveyor belt of sickness and death before it began.

  • Phil R

    spot on

    “I had no choice but to rely on the atrocious NHS”

    If the NHS is so good, why has no other major economy followed the same model?

    • UKCitizen

      I believe Canada has a similar free at the point of delivery system and suffers exactly the same issues as the NHS does.

      • It’s somewhat similar, and free at the point of service, reputed to be somewhat better, at this point anyway, we’ll see when Trudeau flood it with immigrants. In any case we get lots of medical tourists from Canada here in the States. We like it, they drop lots of money.

  • Sargv

    As a foreigner, I completely agree with Karen.

    British healthcare system is awful. You should be ashamed of NHS, it’s terrible. The only way to get decent healthcare here is to use private insurance (gladly I have one that covers whole family).

    Even in Russia, the service is better. There’s an affordable and widespread commercial options, which will guarantee that you’ll see any medical specialist you need on the same day. But even for universal/”free” healthcare, which is underfunded, under-equipped and short on specialists, the service is still much better.

    It’s GPs who make all the difference. In Russia, they called “diagnosts”, and they aim is not to prevent a patient from “milking the system” by sending them back home with Paracetamol unless they’re about to die right in the surgery. It’s to actually diagnose the possible condition, and outline the options for the patient – including private practice alternatives, when person is unable to wait for weeks for state-provided specialist service.

    Reform the GP layer. I’m better at googling my own symptoms, thank you.

    • Concur. US healthcare has many problems, compounded by Obamacare, which was not about healthcare but health insurance, a subtle but important point. But where US care has always been good is our GP, or primary care physicians, who often act as case managers – keeping track of all the rest. For the rest, we could use more competition ourselves, especially in drugs, and less use of them, I suspect. But I’m no expert, I haven’t seen a doctor (except socially) in about 15 years, any money I’ve spent on insurance to this point has been wasted, but of course I didn’t know that 15 years ago.

      From what my friends have told me, the NHS does OK, if and only if, you are a member of the Nomenklatura, you’ve got to have political influence to get a good outcome, and yes, I do have examples.

      Practically the last Stalinist program left in the world, and so many Brits have made a religion out of it.

      • barrydavies

        Well we don’t have to mortgage our homes to have a toe nail removed.

        • Bully for you. We never did, most of us own pliers of our very own. Then again, we mostly don’t believe in pointless torture so we leave our toenails on our toes where they belong. Trimming usually suffices

          • barrydavies

            Well that explains it all, you would rather rip your own toe nails out with pliers instead of having the job done properly, is that because you can’t afford it?

    • Susan Horne

      I agree that if people want to pay then there is nothing wrong with that. At the moment I am having to wait 4 weeks for an ultrasound and the GP will not make a decision on my treatment until we sees the results. This leaves me in pain. Tough cheese!but if I could pay to get it done faster I should be able to. I agree with Ann Widdicom when she said that throwing money into the NHS year after year us not working so politicians should st down with interested parties to get a workable NHS.

  • Rosie McMillan

    Karen I sympathise with your health problem, I have had the same one for 30 years..
    However as at present there is no real understanding of this miserable condition, there is also NO cure.. so it really wouldn’t matter if you had been seen by the swankiest Doctor in the U.K., you would not have been cured.. most treatments on offer,by private therapists, are hit and miss..They will work for some cases, but not all.
    If what you feel to be true, that a private paid for health system would have cured you, then there would be reports of this in the press and else where..that all other countries can ‘cure’ this problem.. only in the U.K. Will you suffer its lingering effects.. Not so.. The support that folk with this condition receive, may vary with different Health care providers,and various therapies may mitigate some of its effects.. but there will be NO cure. In some lucky cases the disease will burn out of its own accord. That is not a cure, or may morph, as in my case into a lingering chronic condition, not as life disrupting as the earlier acute phase, but nevertheless always in the background waiting to announce a comeback should I stress my body physically or mentally.
    As for the idea that a greater emphasis on Private Health care, will bring about a better service., again I disagree.. what we suffer from in the UK is a chronic shortage of Doctors.
    And if, with increased private practice, those Doctors split their time between both sides of the medical profession, then the care will not improve. The same Dr will be working for both sectors, and his knowledge will be the same.. plus It can only get worse, as the temptation will be, as at present, for the Private sector to cherry pick the least troublesome conditions to treat, and any complications will be thrown back on the NHS, to deal with, but with even fewer staff or resources.. so a much poorer outcome.. so a varicose vein op. That goes wrong, with a blood clot needing urgent treatment in an NHS ICU, not covered by your Treatment plan in a private hospital.. then a hollowed out NHS may not have the staff, space or expertise to save your life..
    also regarding Health tourism..
    again it is six, and two threes.. yes of course in theory visitors to our shores should not expect our NHS to pay for treatment they could not access in their home country.
    However, the U.K. And the south east in particular is massively crowded, with folk all crowding onto public transport, and jostling cheek by jowl in shops and social spaces..
    under those circumstances, I strongly feel, that I would want any visitor to our shores, with a fever, treated very quickly. And not struggling on the streets passing his infection to every person he comes into contact with, causing a serious viral epidemic, or an incurable form of TB. .. . who knows what serious epidemics our policy of treating free has averted..
    one more thing..
    the biggest and most serious damage done to our NHS, was was when some bright spark, took a political decision, to save a few quid, and NOT increase places at medical schools.. the thinking being.. why spend our money training medical staff, let us import foreign trained Doctors and push the cost on to their home countries, or their families..
    an NHS on the cheap… this worked for a time, when the UK was seen as an aspirational choice for those trained abroad.. However as our economic fortunes have declined, and other countries have caught up with us, particularly the ‘tiger economies’ the U.K. Is no longer considered such a desirable place to settle.. especially as there is a generally hostile attitude developing towards any immigration.
    So now we are not training enough Drs. And not getting the number of foreign trained medics to make up the shortfall.
    Also of course, as there are so few places at medical school. Only those with the very highest grades get accepted.. so you have many trained Doctors, who are very clever, good at studying, but not necessarily hugely empathetic or flexible thinkers.. we have many ‘tick box technicians’ .. they may know the ins and outs of medicine, but may not have the right personality to practise it successfully. Widening the field would enable those who are dedicated to medicine, clever, and with the correct people skills and crucially who can think outside the box, not just learn brilliantly by rote.. to find a place at med. school, and hugely benefit our NHS.

  • Hermine Funkington-Rumpelstilz

    No no no and no.

    How have I come to this verdict?
    Simple.

    There is no crisis in the NHS.
    We will get our 350 million a week back and invest in the NHS *instead*, and that, my dear piffle dishers, will be that. Now get on your bike and deliver what YOU promised.

    • UnionJihack™
    • UKCitizen

      That will still be a drop in the ocean compared to an annual bill of 149B

    • Susan Horne

      They did not promise that. Sorry but you give me one politician that said. ” We will stop paying the EU 350 million and use it to fund the NHS instead. ” You cannot because nobody said it.

      • Tethys

        It only took one in 12 leave voters to fall for the grubby “Bus” confidence trick to create the mess we are ALL now in.

        • barrydavies

          Well clearly you fell for the grubby project fear lies propaganda and misdirection form remain, including the illegal true facts pamphlet that was sent to everyone and broke the spending regulations.

        • Hermine Funkington-Rumpelstilz

          Well Trudhilde, should of thought about that before printing crap on the side of a bus, innit.

      • Alison Lane
      • Alison Lane

        There was a poster and it was on the side of the Leave campaign bus.
        Your memory is faulty

    • paul parmenter

      You oppose Karen’s comments on the basis that you are annoyed at a claim made during the EU referendum, that you do not actually believe anyway?

      Very strange logic. Or perhaps not logic at all, just emotion. Which is of no use whatsoever in tackling a very real problem.

      • Hermine Funkington-Rumpelstilz

        Good point. The logic dictates that we won’t even try to deliver on the claim we made, am I correct? I mean, how could we possibly be bothered to try given that this money doesn’t actually exist, even though around 40% of the entire population still think it does. Spot the minor ‘ishoos’ arising from that.

        • Lancastrian Oik

          Pathetic response.

          By the way, the name you aspire to use in your cack-handed attempt at a satirical username is spelled “Hermione”.

          • Hermine Funkington-Rumpelstilz

            Is this a joke?

            Firstly, my name is Hermine, get with it. Secondly, there is no crisis in the NHS as we will get £350 million a week back to fund it instead. THAT is what we voted for. Problem solved. Next problem.

  • UKCitizen

    The NHS is the taxpayer funded bottomless well of virtue signalling that just keeps on giving and like most public behemoths, has evolved more to serve its employees than its customers.

    • barrydavies

      Well certainly the burgeoning amount of non clinical staff to run all the departments set up to privatise it are a pointless drain on resources, get rid of trust management CQC’s CCG’s Monitor, and all the rest of the pointless bodies who overlap each other in what they are supposed to do, bring back all the highly expensive outsourced services into he hospitals and you can save the tax payers a fortune, we never had massively overpaid trust executives in the 80’s but the system ran far better than now.

  • Groan

    Heresy for these pages but the answer does appear to be to replace it with an “insurance” scheme as is common in Europe. At the moment it thinks of itself and behaves as if every small corner is a branch of the Government, with a much bigger “mission” than just attending to health needs. As such its infinitely more “political” than other health systems and totally unwieldy. In all my years the various reforms from all parties were attempts to match European systems. “Internal markets” “purchaser provider splits” GP fundholding, CCG Commissioning, one could go on. All trying to stop it being a top down behemoth. All trimmed and undermined by politicians themselves once the Clinicians start to make some sensible decisions about what is a priority and what is unaffordable. The latest ruse is to “devolve” to the new Mayors, really in the hope of deflecting criticism for the now long overdue follow through on GP commissioning.

    • From what I hear, I agree. Thing to watch out for is what caught us, due to some fairly obscure reasons, our insurance plans often turned into not so much insurance, designed for unforeseen catastrophic expenses, as sort of a payment plan for minor expenses like a tetanus shot. That’s why American insurance is so high, it’s like car insurance paying to fill your gas tank. That model is only slightly better, and wouldn’t be if our health care providers weren’t trying to make a profit through competition.

  • barrydavies

    The NHS has been systematically starved of funds since the 1980’s by successive governments. The idea is to fully privatise it meaning those who can not work will be excluded from healthcare and die early. I’m sure that Herman Goering would have fully agreed with this dismantling of health care for the disabled, incapacitated and sick.

  • Jill Y. Gould

    You’re deluded to think that private / insurance-based = excellence. As a nurse from Canada (and a world travelling athlete), I saw first hand the relatively modest lifestyle of Canadian doctors in stark contrast to the excesses and ostentatiousness of American doctors. Not only are Doctors in those systems more likely to be in the job for money, private companies are inevitable costlier as they are profit driven. Worse still, they are also risk averse (eg afraid of negligence) so order every test under the sun whether required or not, to limit the chances of getting sued. What the Canadian and UK system have in common, is the incalculable devotion of staff to the jobs they are doing and the patients they serve. For example, if you ever tried to properly compensate a District Nurse for their actual work, dedicated practitioners who work tirelessly in the background, it would break all the insurance systems. There isn’t even an equivalent in the USA or Canada; they still have the “Victorian Order of Nurses” in Canada, a voluntary home care service started with a gift from Queen Victoria, with no statutory requirement for home based care; no wonder they (and Americans) spend so much more per GDP with literally the only option being to be admitted to hospital or die at home alone, without any form of health care. The NHS far surpasses the lifelong care available through other systems; in 2010 rated #1 world wide by the Commonwealth fund (not anymore) and last year, #1 globally for End of life care. And the NHS is not only the most efficient in terms of cost per GDP, it is simply irreplaceable.

    • Kent

      The only issue is successive governments reward failure with more cash. Think about that for a minute.

  • Helen Southwell

    You are free to pay for your own private healthcare to treat your CFS should you choose to do so. So why are you whining about the NHS ?

    • barrydavies

      Well as there is no treatment that actually works for CFS you would be getting ripped off by the private provider.

      • Helen Southwell

        Indeed. So why complain about the NHS? I have a number of auto immune conditions that are untreatable. I don’t slag off the NHS because there’s nothing they can do.

        • barrydavies

          I don’t slag off the NHS unlike the majority of posters on here who seem to think if you are disabled or poor you should curl up and die.

    • paul parmenter

      Interesting. Nine comments, all posted within one hour of each other, and all attacking Karen and her article; in some cases using the most vicious language. But with no coherent, rational argument anywhere among them explaining why she is wrong; just a heap of personal abuse.

      Something tells me that somebody has been stirring up the troll brigade from some other site, and has directed them to infest this one.

  • Claire Marie Rayson

    What a sad and bitter lady. I think you need councelling over the deaths which have occurred to the people close to you. Maybe also you need to talk with some patients who have very positive experiences .
    As you hold an interest in spirituality, I’m sure you understand that balance is key. Perhaps, with this in mind your writing will come across a little more informative and interesting rather than angry and heartless.

  • Patricia Rayner

    You’ve got an imaginary illness – I’m surprised to see you have energy to type thst load of bilge. Anecdotes and generalisations are not fact checked evidence but the product of a bitter and twisted mind.

    • barrydavies

      Only those who are ignorant or who thin k being offensive makes them sound clever would cause anyone of having an imaginary illness.

  • Janice Toner

    Don’t like it? Don’t use it.

  • Si Gracey

    Have you heard of BUPA? You killed YOUR sister & friend by withholding this information!!

  • Nick Clarke

    You are a disgusting apology for ahuman being. Are you related to the vile Katy Hopkins by any chance?

  • Derek Hatton

    If you don’t like it don’t use it you Clown!! There are millions more who have an entirely different view to you – thank goodness.
    This is the sort of thing we expect from Conservatives and why we should without doubt VOTE LABOUR.

    We should all ask ourselves the following –

    ‘Should I vote Tory? Are you Rich – Yes. Do you care about other people – No. Vote Tory.

    Are you Rich – No. Do you care about other people – Yes. DON’T vote Tory.

    • mrmrsspence

      Who left the door open at the Reform Club?

    • Rr

      Read the article. If you don’t like it, you only have the choice to use something else if you are absolutely minted – partly because you already pay so much for the NHS you don’t like. What you don’t have is the choice not to use it, and not to pay for it.

  • Jane Ennis

    Er…….is this satire?

  • sandra

    dross

  • KL

    These are not traditional conservative views. This blog / digital magazine appears to be set up to push a neoliberal agenda as a proxy / agent for those we would now label as alt right, I suppose it is female version of a sordid Steve Bannon-esque publication, one that would side with Donald Trump and his ilk. Agitative discourse starts right here. This is what is known as an Internet troll, a purveyor of fake news and discord! Ignore !

    • paul parmenter

      In which case, you are free to take yourself elsewhere to an outlet that suits your own prejudices. Goodbye!

  • Pat

    Let us remember the purpose of the NHS. To get rid of the means test so no-one has to prove that they qualified for free treatment. The free treatment had been funded basically by overcharging those who could pay. It cost nothing to set up as it simply appropriated existing hospitals set up by charities.
    It is hardly surprising that health tourism has become a problem now that international travel has become cheap- the whole idea was to give free treatment no questions asked.
    And it’s great for Doctors and nurses. Consider, I take my dog to the vet, he cites her and I’m tempted to see him as a saint- until I get the bill and realism intrudes. But when a doctor or nurse treats me or mine the bill goes elsewhere- of course people see them as saints.
    And when they negotiate pay and conditions they’re talking to civil servants and politicians who aren’t spending their own money.
    My solution? Find how much the NHS spends broken down by age and sex. Subtract however much of that is for treating pre-existing conditions and emergency care- and put that money into an individual health account for each patient. Split the NHS into insurance and healthcare and insist everyone buys insurance either from NHS or elsewhere. Emergencies and pre-existing conditions continue to be an NHS function. Allow people to repurpose any money left at the end of the year.
    Then we will have competition for both quality and price, and both will improve.

    • barrydavies

      Well you got everything completely wrong, but never mind.

  • Rachel Manning

    I think this is a great article. My own experiences of the NHS have been appalling – and it is not as simple as saying if you don’t like it don’t use it. Most people don’t have the choice. The lack of holistic care or integrated treatment means the current healthcare in this country is highly ineffective.

    The comments in this thread that are personal attacks against the writer are inappropriate and nasty. Karen offers a valid opinion on a critical issue – one that needs to be discussed.

    • barrydavies

      It sounds like you have never been in in an NHS hospital and are just regurgitating what was said in an inferior but expensive clinic.

  • Ní HArrachtáin Chamhaoil Séani

    As someone who comes from Ireland where a two tier system is in place I can assure you that it does not always work. There are still the same problems in terms of waiting lists, etc but have to pay a lot more for the pleasure.

    Now lets look at the system in the US and in particular the cost of medical insurance. In your article you assume that with a higher demand for insurance the cost of suppling it would drop. The US proves that this is not the case. People go bankrupt there if they have a Cronic condition.

    Furthermore they have little choice in consultants /hospitals, only who and where their insurance allows (which, incidentally, is the same here regarding insurance).

    I’m sorry you have lost people close to you. However you cannot blame the NHS. Again I refer to the US as an example where insurance does not guarantee a better outcome. I have a neurological condition. Although it is rare I was diagnosed quickly and operated on to reduce the progression. I know many many people in the States who were misdiagnosed for years which has rendered them in wheelchairs, others have died. And then there are those who can’t see the nearest specialist as that doctor is not covered by their insurance.

    So, as an outsider who to has experienced different systems I can assure you that the NHS is something to cherish and be proud of.

  • Paul

    Cheaper and better sounds good to me
    Have you read the book by Helen Evans?
    https://iea.org.uk/publications/research/sixty-years-on-who-cares-for-the-nhs

  • Chris Read

    There are many many excellent doctors in the NHS, what they lack is funding…

  • Charlotte Howells

    This is totally ridiculous – I am proud to live in a country where no-one ever wakes up wondering if they can afford to see a doctor. Plus there is nothing stopping you taking out private health insurance in the UK.

    • Busy Mum

      But what about waking up knowing that there probably isn’t a doctor to see you? Nothing stopping you taking out private health insurance? Really? Some of us cannot afford it.

      • Charlotte Howells

        The fact you cannot afford it would still be true if the NHS didn’t exist.

        • Busy Mum

          If the NHS didn’t exist, I might be able to afford private health insurance.

          • John

            Not if the US system is anything to go by.

          • Busy Mum

            Hence the ‘might’!

    • You’re proud? Nearly every advanced country in the world offers comprehensive healthcare to its citizens. The choice is not a binary one between the “evil” American system and the glorious NHS.

      • Charlotte Howells

        No – some of the European models work well but the direction of travel is towards the American system. Simon Stevens came from United Health. Nick Seddon, Cameron’s former health adviser, just joined Optum, a division of United Health and the whole STP opens up the NHS for privatisation with each of the 44 ACOs being run by a private company. The problems with the NHS are largely caused by the private sector. When Serco fail to provide proper out of hours services it is the NHS that picks up the pieces and when profit centres become more important than patient care we are truly stuffed. The NHS will be sold within the next five years if the Tories stay in power as part of a desperate trade deal with the US and then God help us all.

  • Rebecca Jones

    Are you for real ? The reason the NHS is in its state is the
    Conservative party. “my own illness has been hampered by the lack of a
    viable two-tier healthcare system”…. really ? how would not having the NHS
    help you ? Have we not already got a two tier service ? free for those
    that cannot afford insurance and private for those that can ? And to be
    honest…..we need to lose the private part of it. You claim to be an anthropologist, how so ? if you were, surely you would have understand the reasons the NHS was established….having said that, if you were, you would not have written such a daft article in the first place so i guess you fail on the journalist front too. Christ almighty it’s stupid people like you that, along with selfish conservatives in general, that have ruined this country to begin with. To post articles like this i think you need more help with your mental state than your physical.

    • paul parmenter

      For heavens sake, can we please get past this ridiculous assertion that the NHS is “free”? Free at the point of supply (and certainly not always then) is not “free” in any absolute sense. The article tells you that the cost in this current year will be £149 billion. That is a massive amount of money. £149,000,000,000 to write it out in full. There are only some 65 million of us, so we are having to stump up something close to £2,300 each. That includes every man, woman and child in the entire country. It will be done of course, but it is still a huge burden and very far from being free.

      That is why I think it is quite reasonable to ask if we are really getting value for money, and whether there could be a better way both to fund and to deliver the service. Is that wholly wrong? Does that justify vilifying and insulting anyone who points out the failings of a system that is undoubtedly, by any measure, failing? Or who puts forward ideas for improvement?

      • mollysdad

        There are 65 million of us. but how many commercial corporations are there, and how much do they earn?

      • Jason ProfessorAbronsius Page

        £2300 a year is still cheaper than private insurance. The US is an average of £400 a month…

        • Plus, of course the minimum of 13.8% (on any wage you could survive on) that your employer pays in. For a thousand pounds a month that’s 138 pounds that should be on your paycheck. The US number is for an individual rate.

      • #BDS

        6.1 % of UK gdp is less than 1/2 of what the US spends on its healthcare (13.1%) , great idea , let’s go down that route and spend over 300 bil per annum instead .

  • Judy

    What the NHS needs is a health secretary who has been there and worn the tshirt, not a fool of average intelligence such as Jeremy Hunt. I’ve been a user of the NHS since I was hit by a car when I was 11 years old, so 26 years of living with a truly brutal amputation.

    My pelvis was cleanly snapped in half on a 45 degree angle. My coccyx, right buttock, right hip, and entire right leg were torn off in the blink of an eye. The US-style system would have either killed me because my family is working class and couldn’t afford to keep me alive, or it would have bankrupted my family beyond all rhyme and reason.

    Is the NHS perfect? I’ll be the first to tell you it isn’t, but do you know where the fault for that belongs? On governments doing absolutely stupid stuff. The blame doesn’t belong on nurses and doctors and porters, it belongs on the government who put a bloody banker in charge of a zillion hospitals. A banker whose work experience in a hospital stands at a big, fat zero.

    The cuts made to the NHS have seen me need to make a bloody Gofundme campaign because the surgery I need is no longer offered on the NHS and now I stand to lose the powerchair I desperately need to leave my house.

    You Tories want to profit off chronically ill people. Exploit their need for personal greed and it’s just that simple. Stop pretending otherwise.

    • paul parmenter

      The NHS needs a hell of a lot more than just a better health secretary. You could put a cross between Mother Teresa and St Raphael the Archangel in charge, and I doubt if there would be any improvement.

  • Michelle

    I’m so sorry for your loss and that you have ME/CFS. My husband has suffered from it for years. There are ME/CFS specialists out there in the UK. Unfortunately your illness has so many symptoms (over 2500 from what research says) it makes it a difficult illness to diagnose and treat. However, it is not a death sentence, it isn’t terminal, which is one blessing.
    I think until you have worked in the NHS it’s hard to understand it. Also, a couple of the main problems the NHS faces is that it has been slowly privatised over the years by government and also have had their budgets slashed time and time again. Also you have an aging population – we’re living longer but getting iller younger. The Tory’s that you seem so fond of have been making massive cuts to services and help for the disabled and vulnerable in thus country. I work in the NHS and have friends working in social and it’s horrendous what has been done in just two years. You have a health secretary and government who have alienated the NHS and lied to the public, Hunts comments and lies about the weekend effect has cost people’s health and well being. You have an under paid, under staffed, demoralised work force including GP’s.
    Private health care – insurance companies aren’t always good (I have relatives let down by their insurance companies so badly and had to pay themselves even though they’ve had policies for years) and the medical staff tend to be NHS trained and also a lot work for the NHS too and do private work on the side.
    As you’re an immigrant and lived in 4 continents, what made you settle here? Why not another country like the ones you speak so highly about? You say you can’t afford private yet slate the NHS who you’re taking care from. Do you pay for it? Controlled immigration – are you part of controlled immigration? Do you have any proof to back up your claims of foreigners not paying? I’ve known many who do, and it gets put back into the NHS. Speaking as someone whose friends have experienced the US health care system before and after Obama Care as well as other countries health care systems I’m thankful for the NHS. I’ve seen so much good be done by the NHS and so much damage be done by the present government. Theresa May looks set to privatise the NHS further still in discussions with Trump that could be devastating for UK citizens. Privatisation has been proven not to work – the first completely privatised hospital failed miserably in its first year and had to be bailed out by the NHS. Round the country it’s making things worse. The hospital I work in it has made things worse yet the NHS get the blame.
    Maybe you should consider moving to one of those other continents ?

  • Louise Kenton

    The NHS is definitely not perfect, and I wasn’t very happy with some aspects of my mum’s care when she was in and out of hospital during her last few years. She had dementia, wasn’t the easiest of patients, but the communication both between different specialties involved in her care, her residential home for the elderly, and us the family was also slow and inadequate, which in turn then leads to delays in treatment, being discharged, etc. All very frustrating and not what my mum needed in addition to her inevitable decline towards death. However, the problem of marrying up social care for the elderly and with hospital stays is a well known one, clearly needs more targeted improvement, and I understand the strain it puts on hospitals in terms of bed blocking.
    It is terrible that the writer lost her sister and friend, but I suspect they were particularly unlucky. My partner is a hospital doctor and is quite emphatic that the big problem is over, not under investigation. GPs refer patients who could probably be reassured in their surgery, and patients pretty much demand unnecessary tests. As a neurologist, he says that many people who come to clinic are just anxious and have no illness as all. It is hard to be efficient with people who need treatment when swamped with the demands of ‘the worried well.’ It isn’t so bad if they allow themselves to be reassured, but it would seem there is a growing number of people who seem to actively WANT a diagnosis of something serious. Apparently it is not unheard of for patients to be disappointed by a clear brain scan.
    Health is a very complex area of human experience and I do believe our NHS does a good job considering the myriad of complex demands placed upon it. Having been a teacher, I do think that something more could be done to educate young people about health in a very broad sense (not just sex education) and more specifically, the appropriate use of the NHS. As a parent I have always talked to my children about how anxiety and stress can manifest physically, and have always paid attention to any physical illness or emotional distress they may have experienced. I hope I have raised them to have balanced and informed ideas about their health.
    And after all, we already have a private system for people to seek reassurance if they wish. Feel free to pay £200 for someone to tell you you are actually fine!

    • Peg

      Good well thought out reply. Social care needs a whole load of money put into it not cuts. It would probably make the single biggest difference to struggling hospitals but the worried well are another issue and definitely education of how to use you nhs would be a great idea. Almost half of people going to A&E last year were discharged without further intervention. Many go because they don’t want to wait for a gp appointment but basically if you haven’t got a suspected broken bone and you are reasonably well you need to wait for your gp.

  • BSO

    This article has merit and should open up a debate. As I type this my Mother is in hospital with severe pneumonia; the care is adequate, we remain in hope. But the NHS as an organization is mediocre, outcomes variable, every shortfall in care quality is blamed on money & cuts. The waste is staggering.

    Like everyone my family has had some truly excellent care experiences. But also it is
    impossible to deny that there have been some truly appalling ones as well; two
    of which resulted in avoidable death.

    Yet to criticize the NHS, to suggest an alternative model or more successful services is tantamount to heresy.

    Access and waiting lists are essential to generate a sense of under resourcing. When in France, Germany and many other countries access is much more speedy early diagnosis saves lives
    and money.
    Our hospitals cream off trained staff from other countries whilst governments and unions collude with policies that engineer under training of our own doctors and nurses. Ridiculous stories of Nurses at Food banks are pure propaganda.
    The biggest bulwark of socialism, welfarism, multiculturalism, underperforming universities and mass inward migration is the NHS. It is no wonder that only 10-16% vote conservative.

    We could do with a similar conservative articles about “social care” and “teaching”.

    • BSO

      It has been some time since I posted on this website but the number of left wing trolls have gone up dramatically…must be Trump and Brexit.

      • #bds

        Please point out May’s left wing policies, and explain where all the money that caused the massive increase in debt since the tories took power has gone.

        (Giving workers a year off work unpaid to care for a sick parent due to tory cutbacks in the social care budget is not left wing btw.)

  • Vicky Martin

    You may be able to afford private treatment Karen, but how many of your fellow ME suffers will be hurt so much more if we move to an insurance based scheme and they don’t qualify for pre-existing condition!

    • There are lots of insurance systems out there which cover all citizens regardless of pre-existing conditions. The choice is not a binary one between the NHS and the “evil” American system. Every advanced country in Western europe manages to provide good (usually better) healthcare to their citizens, usually through some form of insurance.

  • RiffRaff

    Thank God, someone else thinking and even talking about this. This conversation needs to be had and people need to start to think of a future without the NHS as it stands. However, to even talk about massive NHS reform or even, *gasp* abolition, is tantamount to sedition in some quarters. But it has to happen. It is massive political behemoth that harms more than it hurts. Unfortunately, the propaganda machine that peddles the “envy” line is massive and it’ll take a steadfast government to see it sorted out.

  • Raul

    A very thought provoking article Karen. My experience is there are good and bad bits of the NHS and treatment varies from hospital to hospital and can be a lottery even within one hospital you can have good and bad departments. The whole system has been creaking for many years under successive governments. When the NHS was developed in 1945 life expectancy was much lower than today and medical interventions and treatment were not so numerous or costly. The fact it has become a political football is not helpful. If you want to see a GP you often have to ring first thing and they only have ten minutes and it’s easy to miss things when the doctor has little time for each patient. It does need debating and your suggestions of a two tier system should be debated. Something needs doing as the NHS cannot go on like this

  • Peg

    NHS GP’S are the very same people that are private GP’s this stinks of misinformation and I’m alright jack let the others die. Uncontrolled immigration is another false. We have the right to check immigration we just don’t do it because we have an ageing population and need foreign workers. Have you ever tried getting here without a passport? When the ghettos come back and they would if a tory govt was in long enough, diseases such as polio and TB resurface, they don’t care whether you are rich or poor. It is in everyone’s interest to keep the whole of the population healthy. We are one of the wealthiest nations on earth for God’s sake. We should be able to divert the money to the health of everyone rather than to the fastest growing rich poor gap in europe. That only helps those gaining. Even fairly well off people go bankrupt in USA due to medical debt. It’s just one car crash away. And you can’t get insured for pre existing conditions. Nor cancer as the insurance companies see it as experimental treatment. Do you know for a fact you won’t get cancer? Or doesn’t it matter if you think you can afford it. And you need to be very rich indeed to afford that. Also the insurance companies can drop you at the last minute if they feel your treatment will be too expensive. So you pay all your premiums then, when you need them they say no were not paying. That is how it works. Our system is the cheapest national health service in the world and rated as top or very near the top for everything. Much cheaper than when private companies want their vast profits taken out of course. So ask yourself do you know you won’t get cancer? Do you know you will never have a life changing injury? If you can’t say yes honestly then the national health service is in your favour too. All this division and pre judgement on who are worthy people does not help. This will speak to those with money but unless you are in that top 5% wealthiest and never mix with us underlings you will need a national health service when we pass our diseases to you, or you are in a traffic accident, or get cancer because after that and with insurance based systems, you will indeed, will be one of us.

    • Nice talking points, did you retype or cut and paste. None (I repeat NONE) of your information is even close to accurate for US insurance, other than a very few isolated instances. The only thing they are is the disinformation used to get (the catastrophically failing) Obamacare passed. So they are not merely talking points, they are long obsolete talking points. I hate wasting brain cell reading such drivel.

  • Charlie Wardale

    Something that has occurred to me for a long time: If the NHS is so great, why has no other country/government adopted the same model??!!

    • The short answer is: even if it was as good as its sycophants/worshippers/whatever say it is, it’s still a bottomless money pit that will bankrupt any country that tries it.

      But it’s far from that good, it’s a moribund, creaky bureaucracy much more interested in perpetuating itself, than in anything else, especially health care of the taxpayer.

      • John

        so, you talk about the perils of rational self interest and your answer to that is privatisation? That sounds legit.

        • It is, simply because there is plenty of healthcare work for doctors, nurses and the rest. Like anything else, competition makes them more efficient, as long as the user is paying the bill. Other people’s money is always the problem.

          Unlike anybody in Britain I can remember a pretty much free market in healthcare, it worked, it worked well, and no one died in the street.

      • #BDS

        ”it’s still a bottomless money pit that will bankrupt any country that tries it.”

        % of UK gdp spent on universal healthcare system 6.7 %

        % of US gdp spent on private healthcare system 13.1 %

        Bankruptcies due to healthcare bills in US – 643,000
        Bankruptcies due to healthcare bills in UK – 0

        Deaths associated with lack of health insurance in US per annum- up t0 45000
        Deaths associated with lack of health insurance in UK per annum – 0

        hmmm…

    • darranmc
  • Nick Walters

    You have a vile ideology.

  • John

    So, the US system is a failure yet you think we should privatise..just like the US. Great job there. If you want a better healthcare system then look to countries with better healthcare..oh wait, they are all nationalised… so..yea. Btw, we already have “two tiers”, ever heard of BUPA?

  • Jake Binnington

    “a decent GP is a rarity in the National Health Service”

    Literally started off by saying something so stupid as to make the rest of the article laughable.

    Also to say “that increased competition will lower the costs of these [health insurance] schemes”.
    So by that logic the USA should have the lowest costs in the world? No it has the highest, but the competition should increase the outcomes for patients no? No. In fact, they are not in the top 20 for most outcomes.
    So the logic has no credibility here.
    In fact, before the Tories came to power in 2010 the NHS was the most efficient system in the world. It is only since its funding has been cut that cracks have appeared.
    The author of this piece is short sighted, ill-informed, and crucially bitter.
    But then she is a conservative.

  • #BDS

    ”…but I could not afford the extravagant cost of UK private care. ”
    so you propose destroying the affordable alternative ? sounds legit.

    ”After all a quick death is better than a slow death.”

    Please, feel free .It’s not like there’s a shortage of Tory zionist twats in the world…

  • Carey Thring

    Poisonous backward and ignorant thinking as well as wilful misrepresentation of facts. Watch this and learn something. https://youtu.be/wSmPIBJWXGM

    • Simon Jester

      After watching the first minute of that video, the only thing I had learned was that the NHS employs 1.7 million people. Not exactly a surprise. Do you really think I would have learnt anything more illuminating if I could have been bothered to watch the other 9 minutes?

  • Michael Barnes

    Post truth nonsense from this overeducated ‘baboon’. She clearly still struggles with Maths, even now despite a “free” University education… Yes, the NHS has problems like all healthcare systems. Yes, there are inefficiencies and incidences of fraud. I fully agree that occasionally NHS staff can be rude or inexperienced. After all they are humans(I hope?). Please find me a human being who has never been rude or inexperienced! Her thesis does not demonstrate that the NHS needs to be scrapped. The demographic changes(including a relatively high birth rate) & high immigration are a pleasant side effect of cheap universal care. ☺ ‘Co-payments’ are necessary as a way of increasing overall expenditure. Harradine seems to have no idea how much the UK spends on health compared to other post industrialised economies. That is deeply alarming, suggesting that she is either cognitively impaired or just lying.☹ The increased charges for healthcare must inevitably be means tested. We have this already in the firm of prescription charges which the vast majority are exempt from! Central taxation is a simple, sensible way of raising revenue. Most people agree to paying more tax for services when surveyed. What they don’t like is politicians spending our money on other, less tangible things. So, if the author doesn’t understand these issues there are search engines of which one popular one known as “Google” is very, very useful. It can even take you to government information webpages which tell you what happens with the UK government expenditure. As a few hard line, right-wing Tories might say – maybe educating some people who lack primary intelligence (including this “journalist”) is counterproductive and could be harmful to society. I hope she was just drunk when she wrote her drivel.

  • Elliot Penn

    I don’t even know where to start with this torrent of bile. She had to suffer the NHS as she couldn’t afford private health care, good job the NHS was there’s to look after you wasn’t it.At least we don’t go bankrupt as in the US when you get ill. Yes mistakes happen but overall it’s bloody brilliant.
    Free health care marks a society as compassionate and caring.