The UK ‘performs worse than almost any other advanced country in the prevention of avoidable deaths’. It is listed as ‘below average in the treatment of eight of the 12 most common causes of premature demise’. It has ‘fewer doctors, nurses, hospital beds and scanners than other countries’, and spends ‘a smaller proportion of national income on healthcare’.
Despite this the 70th ‘birthday’ of the NHS has been greeted with marches staged in its honour . . . badges worn fatuously by MPs and religious services, and yet ‘the people who pay for it want a modern and comprehensive health service, not one rooted in the past and worshipped like an ancient god’ (‘Today’s NHS needs reform not worship’, Telegraph comment, today), and with unabated BBC propaganda.
The NHS is lauded as a non-profit-making organisation, but at least a commercial health enterprise actually needs customers and so has a vested interest in prolonging their lives. Like so many nationalised industries, the NHS tends to be run to suit the needs of its employees rather than its ‘employers’ – the patients, as has already been argued on TCW. It has become a ‘business’ that doesn’t need any more ‘customers’, even when the customers actually pay the wages of the workers. In fact, the sicker the ‘customers’ the more of a nuisance they become, interfering with the smooth running of the hospital; too often, nobody seems to notice if a few patients, typically the older and/or mentally disabled ones, fail to survive their ‘treatment’.
Far from promoting life qua life, in too many hospitals ‘quality of life’ seems to have become the deciding factor of patient care. But even as NHS enthusiasts take pride in the fact that treatment is free at the point of use, it is rationed for sickness, while somehow money is found for IVF and life-long transgender ‘treatment’, as well as supporting the lifestyles of alcoholics, drug addicts and the sexually promiscuous.
Criticism of the NHS is treated as heresy, which would not be so bad if the religion was one of life; but if the state religion is one of sex and death, we should not be too surprised when state medicine reflects those religious priorities. Its ‘birthday’ has been greeted with stories about babies born ‘on the NHS’ in 1948; today you can have a baby killed on the NHS, as it sub-contracts this ‘service’ to private abortion providers who make immense sums of money courtesy of taxpayers. It is beyond ironic that while its most zealous supporters demand ever-larger sums of taxpayers’ money to fund the NHS, the NHS is busy subsidising the killing of future taxpayers.
When it comes to anti-ageing treatments, the NHS is perfectly placed to control both the quality and the quantity of the population. Perhaps it is no coincidence that so many of its pioneers were influenced by eugenics population control*, but judging from recent scandals involving the ‘cutting short’ of elderly patients’ lives, which have taken decades to surface, it is also doing its bit to address the problem of the ‘ageing population’.
The NHS itself is now aged and sick, but instead of killing it off as the readers of TCW unanimously voted for today couldn’t it be rejuvenated with an infusion of new thinking to increase efficiency and lower costs?
By jettisoning the ideological baggage, its defective vision could be restored, enabling it once again to focus on the preservation of life. That might be worth a birthday card.
* Ann Farmer, ‘The Welfare State, Eugenics and Abortion’ (2018).