UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

from The Great Debate UK:

The NHS: Back on the operating table

BRITAIN-US/HEALTHCARE

-Laurence Copeland is a professor of finance at Cardiff Business School. The opinions expressed are his own.-

“The NHS – the envy of the world”. This is one of the Great British Myths to rank alongside “A-level standards haven’t fallen”.

It makes you wonder why all those rich well-organised Europeans are looking longingly at Britain – it’s not as though they can’t afford their own NHS. The truth of course is that they take one look and say “thanks, but no thanks”, and you can’t really blame them.

By most indicators, the NHS produces outcomes that are very unimpressive compared to our European neighbours and are in many cases inferior to those achieved in far poorer countries.

Do you believe homeopathic treatments work?

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BOOTSA panel of scientists and doctors has told MPs that treating patients with homeopathy on the NHS is unethical and a dubious use of public money, arguing that there is insufficient clinical evidence to support such treatments.

“If the NHS  commitment to evidence-based medicine is more than a lip service, then money has to be spent on treatments that are evidence-based, and homeopathy isn’t,” said Edzard Ernst, a professor of complementary medicine at the Peninsula medical school in Exeter, quoted in the Guardian.

Do you love the NHS?

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The National Health Service (NHS) has endured a barrage of criticism from opponents of Barack Obama’s plans to push through a healthcare bill that would rein in costs, place constraints on insurance companies and expand health cover to 46 million uninsured Americans.

Stateside critics of the U.S. President’s plans — including former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin — have branded the NHS “evil and Orwellian” and said it allowed “death panels” to decide levels of care for the elderly. They see it as an overly bureaucratic, “socialised” system of healthcare and the proposals have prompted angry scenes at town halls across America.

Where would you cut public spending?

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Vows by Labour and the Conservatives to protect the NHS from spending cuts will require tax hikes or cuts to other areas, a new report shows.

Promises to “ring-fence” health spending in the lead-up to the next election — to be held before June — might lead to cuts of about 8 percent in other departments over the next six years, say researchers at the King’s Fund and the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Down’s Syndrome numbers don’t add up

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Are more women choosing to have a Down’s Syndrome baby despite learning from a prenatal scan they are carrying a child with the condition?

The Down’s Syndrome Association charity believes this is the case. Its conclusion has been widely followed in press reports, including in the Daily Mail, Independent and the Times.

Ban smoking in cars?

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rtr1xxhr.jpgAnti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) says serious thought should be given to a ban on smoking in cars.

In a report which says smoking costs the NHS 2.7 billion pounds a year, the lobby group argues that millions of children and young people are exposed to second-hand smoke in vehicles every day.

Family doctors dislike government medicine

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Health Minister Ben BradshawA simmering row between family doctors and the government has erupted after Health Minister Ben Bradshaw accused GPs of stifling competition by operating “gentlemen’s agreements” not to poach each others’ patients.

Laurence Buckman, chair of the British Medical Association’s GP Committee, told the BBC the claim was “absolute nonsense”, but then rather undermined his own argument by adding:

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