This morning’s papers show what we have known for quite a long time: there are serious problems within the health service. The headlines alone make grim reading:
- Pointless treatments cost NHS £2bn a year – Times
- Ambulances wait nine hours outside A&E amid 'epidemic' of delays – Telegraph
- NHS trust that failed to probe hundreds of deaths and gave its boss huge pay off spent £40k to gloss over scandal - Sun
- NHS makes staggering 5,000 pest control call-outs a year as hospitals battle rodent and maggot invasions – Sun
- Blitz on red tape to speed up new drugs: Ministers promise to reduce time it takes to go from the lab to patient use by four years - Mail
These stories show that the NHS has a long way to go to meet its £22bn efficiency requirement by 2020-21. They also demonstrate that the system we have leads to rationing in the form of queuing for patients.
The effect of this is to deliver an inadequate service to patients such that in the UK, 46,000 people die unnecessarily when compared to health outcomes in other countries.
What is needed is an honest debate about how healthcare is provided. This is incredibly difficult while there is such vociferous opposition to any reform no matter how minor.
We should look at how other countries deliver healthcare and see what works elsewhere rather than maintaining the baseless belief that the NHS is the envy of the world.