3 thoughts on “The UK health system: a response to critics”

  1. Posted 27/10/2016 at 09:31 | Permalink

    Noam Chomsky would have a few words to say about this. Being critical about a service is essential otherwise you cannot improve it but pretending it’s flaws aren’t due significantly to devastating economic slashing is just denial. Chomsky is right..they undermine a service by cutting it until there is nothing left but the shell then they privatise it. And you wonder why you annoy people!

  2. Posted 27/10/2016 at 11:37 | Permalink

    This reminds me of the people who are determined to believe that moderate drinking is not good for you and that people are eating more calories than they did in the 1960s. The evidence shows the opposite, but since most of the data comes from people reporting their own consumption, critics point out that people do not always correct their consumption accurately. This is true, but self-reported data is accepted at face value when it links consumption to some disease or other and there is little reason to think that people’s self-reported consumption is systematically biased in a way that would prove the opposite of what it appears to show.

    It is a tired old trick to present every acknowledged limitation as evidence that the central point has been DEBUNKED.

    Every caveat and confounding factor is raised as conclusive proof that the evidence is not merely wrong but actually shows the opposite of what it appears to show.

  3. Posted 27/10/2016 at 14:07 | Permalink

    The words you use are quite interesting: “cutting it until there is nothing left”. In the ten years until 2010 spending increased in real terms by 6.3% per annum. In the following ten years it will increase by just over 1% per annum (in real terms). One can argue about all sorts of things (rising elderly population, increasing price of some treatments etc), but this is not cutting until there is nothing left so nobody should be annoyed except by the mispresentation of reality. But, at the same time, the work shows that under all sorts of funding regimes (including that when spending was increasing by 6.3% plus inflation) the comparators were not good. They vary and funding is one factor that determines that variation. However, the degree of competition (or privatisation as some prefer to call it) has also been something that has helped determine over time how well the NHS has done relative to other countries (and also for that matter how well it has done in England relative to Wales). Kristian has written about these things in an honest and open way over a number of publications so I am not sure why you don’t recognise that. And merely asserting: “pretending it’s flaws aren’t due significantly to devastating economic slashing is just denial” is not an argument. It is especially not an argument given Kristian’s very balanced and nuanced work that has looked at NHS relative performance when spending was at its height. At the moment, I have not got time, but if any commenters wish to work out how long it takes the NHS to take up all government spending if the economy grows at 1.5% per annum and NHS spending grows at 6.3% per annum, I would be quite interested to know. The issue of sustainability is relevant here too. How rapidly do we want spending to increase?

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