Sunday, August 16, 2009

Healthy Debate?

I do not think that the NHS is perfect; I have suffered it, and am also constantly blessed by it. My ongoing migraine condition is kept under control by a daily supply of wonder drugs which I receive completely free of charge; I sometimes wonder what an insurer would make of that?

But here are some figures provided by one of the UK's broadsheet newspapers today.

Remember - the UK also has some private healthcare, and that has some impact on these figures; but the vast majority of people only use the NHS. And I haven't heard of these figures figuring in American Republican TV ads.

Far more is spent per head in the US than the UK on healthcare: 16% of GDP there as opposed to 8.4% here. That's just over $7,000 per person per year in the US, as opposed to just under $3,000 per person per year in the UK.


Per 1,000 people, the US has 2.4 practising physicians, the UK has 2.5; the US has 10.6 nurses and the UK has 10.0 per 1,000 people, and for the same number of people there are 2.7 acute care beds in the US and 2.6 in the UK. It just costs more in the US to provide the same level of care.

It gets more interesting. In a society supported by the UK's nationalised health service, a system that has a million flaws and which no-one thinks is perfect -

Life expectancy is two years greater in the UK than in the US (80 as opposed to 78). And infant mortality is lower (at a rate of 0.48% as opposed to 0.67%).

The Americans must decide what is best for them; but before some of them denounce us, something here is working. Not everything. There are real problems. Ask my Dad how long he has had to wait for an op on his shoulder. But it's not just the rich who can afford to be sick, and I for one am profoundly grateful. I see a little girl regularly who needs an awful lot of care who would get nothing if insurance premiums were the only way she would be able to pay for her care; and I am glad she has wonderful doctors helping her freely. I am glad she lives in Wales.

1 comment:

theMuddledMarketPlace said...

after the youngest's treks to and for the hospital this year
...I too was thankful
( very)
for our NHS