Tuesday, 4 January 2022

The toughest winter ever.

The Observer, 31 October 2015: Record numbers of patients will be stuck on trolleys in corridors or the back of ambulances this winter as hospitals run out of beds because of soaring demand and limited funding, the country’s leading A and E doctor has warned.

The Guardian, 21 December 2016: Record numbers of patients are leaving A&E units without being treated, new figures reveal, sparking fears that the NHS is on the brink of a winter crisis and cannot cope with soaring demand.

The Health Foundation, December 2017 - February 2018: The winter of 2017/18 was challenging for the NHS. There were several factors at play, including severe winter weather, increased flu and increased norovirus outbreaks compared to recent, previous years.

The Guardian, 8 December 2018: NHS trusts are expanding A and Es, paying for patients to be cared for in nursing homes and looking after more people at home to help them cope with the impending winter crisis, which experts have warned will be the toughest ever.

The Independent, 11 December 2019: Hospitals across the country are at “breaking point” as a winter surge threatens to overwhelm the NHS

Daily Express, 30 June 2020: Winter crisis: Jeremy Hunt warns NHS hospitals to be in a 'weaker position' later in 2020

iNews, 28 October 2021: Staff morale is plummeting across the NHS according to doctors who are bracing themselves for what they believe could be the worst winter the health service has ever faced.

For more fun along these lines, I recommend an article in Moneyweek, 21 December 2005. They point out that under new Labour, the NHS budget had been doubled...


Bayard said...

"They point out that under new Labour, the NHS budget had been doubled..."

The problem about the Tories (in which grouping I include NuLab) is that they are incapable of funding the NHS properly. The Blue Tories starve the NHS of funds and the Red Tories provide plenty of money, but for the wrong things.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, the most important thing that the government can do to maximise health provision (most healthcare for largest number of people for lowest price) is price capping i.e. prevent them from collecting rent (by massive overcharging - an operation to save your life might cost a few thousand quid, but they know they can charge you ten or a hundred times that because you don't want to die).

That goes hand in hand with smashing the cartel, removing barriers to entry etc.

The next most important thing is for the government to organise the insurance. Compulsory mass insurance with no conditions is the cheapest, and save a bit more money by not fannying about with who is entitled to what care. Do some value-for-money analysis and everybody gets that basic minimum paid for by the insurance.

I see no over-riding need for the government to actually run the health service. They can privatise the lot AFAIAC, as long as they run the insurance and cap the prices.

Do I really give a shit whether the surgeon earns £150,000 a year as an NHS employee or gets paid £150,000 a year from the government-run insurance fund as payment for operations carried out? No of course not. GPs are sort-of-private businesses anyway and nobody bats an eyelid.

That's what they do in a lot of countries and it seems to work fine.

Bayard said...

The problem with that is that most governments are Tory governments and Tory governments are very bad at preventing price-gouging by private businesses, especially when it's the government paying. Also there would be this huge temptation to privatise the insurance side of things.