Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Dutch Win The World Cup That Matters

Here's a story which shows how utterly useless and lazy the British media can be. The Commonwealth Fund is a private American foundation that aims to promote a high performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society's most vulnerable. It independently audits the world's health services and has concluded that the Dutch have the best system.

World Cup Runners Up? The United Kingdom! Have a look at the key indicators. Britain has the most efficient health service. Look at the figures in detail and our health service is remarkably cheap with the lowest expenditure on health as a proportion of gross domestic product. One of the reasons we're so efficient is we spend less time on paperwork. In other words you turn up and go and do not have to fill in forms and insurance claims as in other countries, although my dentist seems to revel in finding pieces of paper now they're being run by a private company.

In 2007 we spent $2,992 per head on health. That's less than half the United States ($7,290) and substantially less than Canada, Germany and the Netherlands.

Where does Britain do poorly? Life expectancy. That in part is a legacy of the Thatcherite economics which threw so many people on to the scrap heap and ran the NHS down.

So here's independent evidence that Britain has a brilliant health service, yet I've not seen anything in the papers mentioning this. The fact that a Labour government has achieved the most efficient health service in the world surely deserves wider mention?

I've done a google news search for the Commonwealth Fund. In the last 2 weeks there are dozens of stories in the United States and several in Canada. In the United Kingdom the Press Association sent the story out so all the papers and television channels will have seen this, yet none worked this up into a story.

I only found out because I receive all the Labour Leadership candidates emails. My thanks to Andy Burnham who summarises the truth the British media dare not name:

"This is a magnificent achievement for all who work in the NHS and vindication of our (Labour's) commitment to and investment in our health service. It destroys the Tory claims of inefficiency and waste as an excuse for cuts."

Give the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats a year or two and they will cut that achievement down to size.

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