3 thoughts on “Has the NHS let us down during the pandemic?”

  1. Posted 17/09/2020 at 11:34 | Permalink


    I’d be interested to know whether, in countries where universal coverage is achieved through (social) insurance payment systems or similar, rather than direct government provision, the healthcare providers were/are still paid if they reduced the services they offered during the pandemic. Obviously, here, the NHS providers were still paid regardless.

    The point I am getting at is whether the providers of healthcare services in different countries were differently incentivised and whether this might have influenced the level of non-Covid services they maintained.

  2. Posted 19/09/2020 at 21:10 | Permalink

    Dr Niemetiz raises some important points but I fear begins from a presumption of equality of healthcare systems at the beginning of the pandemic, quite apart from the competence (or otherwise) of one Government vs another in giving their healthcare system a “fighting chance” to avoid excess deaths. The ONS published data in 2019 showing a UK spend of £2,989 per person on Healthcare vs £4,432 in Germany and interestingly £7,736 per head in the USA in GDP terms (from 2017) this is 9.6% vs 11.2% vs 17.1 % for these 3 countries, with the UK the only one of the 3 reducing spending as a percentage of GDP.
    From the OECD –
    The UK also spends over £200 per person less on long term care vs Germany. Despite this clear difference the life expectancy in the UK and Germany pre COVID was almost identical.
    The UK has 2.8 per 1000 Doctors vs 4.1 in Germany and 2.5, with 12.9 nurses / 1000 vs 7.8. Hospital beds / 1000 vs 8 / 1000 in Germany and in a 2012 study the UK had 6.6 critical care beds per 100,000 vs 29.2 in Germany, Europe average 11.5.
    Pre COVID the UK had a bed occupancy of around 90% vs 80% for Germany

    It is perhaps of no surprise that one healthcare system that was better funded, better staffed and with significantly greater hospital and critical care capacity was able to flex in a way that a system already working at closer to capacity with fewer staff was not.
    I suspect the gratitude that has been shown has been is for the efforts of people to help people. NHS Staff already under significant strain from delivering services under the conditions described above yet further increasing their efforts to try and save as many lives as possible, is perhaps worthy of the kindness of others.

  3. Posted 20/09/2020 at 11:37 | Permalink

    I wonder whether the tendency of the NHS during its panic phase, to send old (many probably infected) patients to Care Homes to free-up capacity was a factor in the UKs excessive excess death figures. If so, there should of course be a later phase of below average mortality, albeit stretched over a longish period.

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