21 November 2010

Another Commonwealth Fund Survey

Here are some results from a telephone survey, conducted from March to June 2010, of adults ages 18 and older in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. These are top countries with excellent healthcare systems. For comparison purposes they also included the United Kingdom. Comparison with the UK is not really fair as we tend to spend rather less on healthcare.

Click for a better view

Now take a look at the overall views of the healthcare system.

In the UK we spend less and are more satisfied with our healthcare system than other countries.

If it ain't broke don't fix it. Don't think, Mr Lansley, that by privatising it you will get more bang for your buck. People from Big Business will tell you that but these figures certainly suggest otherwise.

For the sceptics out there who think Dr Grumble has been selective with the data (and he has) you can look at a full slide show of the results in this ppt.

With very many thanks to the Commonwealth Fund. Why do we have to look to the US to find an organisation prepared to praise the NHS?


Betty M said...

Unfortunately too many of our politicians are in hock to the businesses who want to move in and take over for profit. What I don't understand is why there is so little opposition to this proposed reorganisation.

Dr Grumble said...

I have wondered the very same, Betty M. The reason, I think, is that the public are not very interested in NHS reorganisations which have been happening on a regular basis since the health service began. There is also a lack of awareness of of the real intent of the latest attempts at reorganisation (which this and the previous government deliberately obfuscate). Even junior doctors do not seem to be aware of what is being attempted and, like many, think that they can't alter it anyway. I have been saying for some time that the policies of the three major parties do not really differ when it comes to the NHS and with the arrival of the coalition government that is now clear. It follows that you cannot use your vote to determine the direction of the NHS even though it is one of the things we know the public is most concerned about.

Jobbing Doctor said...

We are importing the worst of the US system with inadequate spend on health.

It is a recipe for 3rd World Medicine

Dr Grumble said...

You can make any system work with enough money but the challenge of our age with ever more expensive healthcare and an ageing population is how to get the biggest bang for our buck. I rather think the NHS as it used to be and not the way it is heading is the way to do that. It is a shame that the political class see things differently.

English Pensioner said...

The figures may be correct, but are they meaningful?
All of us who have tried to get medical insurance for the US know the premiums are far larger than, say, for Europe. This seems to mean that treatment is more expensive, not that it is better, and thus actual expenditure is probably irrelevant, its what you can get for your money that counts. An with regards to the "satisfaction" data, the British tend to be far more tolerant of shortcomings that the Aussies who are far more critical of poor service.
From a one person survey, my wife needed hospital treatment when we were in Australia a couple of years ago, and we thought the service was excellent, certainly faster than she would have got on the NHS. Perhaps this is because Aussies have a choice, either the state hospitals, paid for through taxes or the private system, paid from insurance for which they are allowed a tax rebate on their insurance premiums based on the cost of a person in the state system. Possibly the competition keeps them both on their toes.
PS Their computer system also works! My wife's treatment in Sydney was immediately found in the computer in Melbourne when she went for a follow-on check.

Keith Tayler said...

It looks like waiting time is still the main problem in the NHS. This could of course be solved if there was a real effort over about two years to reduce the backlog. Not sure why this is not fixed.

Dr Grumble said...

For anybody that wants to look page 14 of the slide show I link to has the figures for waiting times.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your follow up post in particular Dr G. These changes should provoke public outrage but a large section of the population are either oblivious to what's going on (and the government deliberately hide many of the most relevant facts of what changes would occur) or else they're apathetic and think nothing can be done about it.

It's been such a continuous cycle over the years though: a public service gets run into the ground, then the government stuff propaganda down our throats that private funding will "make the service better", then the service is privatised and it becomes doubly expensive as well as doubly inefficient but as long as the big corporates funding those election campaigns get their moneys worth, it seems that's all that matters cos' most of the general public are screwed with and no one cares.

Just look at the railways for a case in point. I can live with public transport being messed about with but I shudder with dread at the thought of our health being messed with in the same way. If only there was as much (if not more) passion and public anger expressed towards these changes as there was towards student tuition fees- someone needs to light a fire up the governments a*** to show that they can't get away with it and voting for the other side clearly isn't doing the trick. On top of that, my mother and I have chronic ill health and my disability benefits are being messed about with too- so the luxury (!) of going private at this rate wont be accessible to those who need it most either.


richard.blogger said...

@English Pensioner

"Perhaps this is because Aussies have a choice, either the state hospitals, paid for through taxes or the private system, paid from insurance"

I should remind you that according to ONS figures about 20% of spending on healthcare in the UK is on private healthcare. So you have the choice already to go private. Incidentally, this 20% figure has been pretty constant over the years: there is a section of society who always want private regardless of how good the NHS may be.

Sadly I agree with Dr G. The three parties will not tell us what they want to do with the NHS because they know damned well that the public do not want it. Yes, I know that some things the public want they should not have (for example, if there are too many hospitals in an area and closing one down - publicly unpopular - could increase the resources and improve the others) but the over all Big Plan is not being discussed and we are not given an opportunity to decide democratically if we want to support it.

We are now losing our NHS.

richard.blogger said...

Incidentally it is worth bearing in mind that 20% figure when you read the Commonwealth Fund results. Many of the questions relate to paid-for treatment (as opposed to free-at-the-point-of-use NHS care). The other countries have some form of insurance-based system, so they are only equivalent to about 1/5 of care in the UK.

Sean said...

I have lived in both Germany and Switzerland, which are both insurance-based systems, and to me seemed to work. Be intrigued to find out why the Germans are less content.

Of course in both countries, in contrast to the USA:

Cover is universal regardless of income or pre-existing conditions and
The insurance companies cannot stop cover when they think they have paid too much already

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