Graham Linehan, the wise and funny man behind Father Ted and the IT Crowd, has been using Twitter to round up defenders of the NHS against ever more insane attacks from US rightwing pundits. Using the #welovethenhs tag to identify relevant messages, Linehan is helping to correct some of the more outlandish claims coming out of …
Other healthcare systems are available
Both the UK and the USA see this from limited perspectives.
Debate only ever compares the worst health care system in the developed World (with respect to equity of provision) with the worst health care system in the developed World (with respect to political interference and Kafkaesque bureaucracy)
The NHS might have been the 'envy of the World' in the 1970's - but successive administrations f&*&ed it up. The Tories through neglect, Nu-labour by turning it into a performing seal delivering targets (q.v. electoral propaganda).
Trust me I'm a UK doctor who has worked in Australia :-)
I'd also recommend looking at the systems of Scandanavian countries and some surprising outsiders like Estonia.
from what i can see, #welovethenhs consists of lots of ways of getting more 'followers' and cheap phone adverts....
Seriously, the US couldn't have found a bigger hornets nest to kick, could they? The only way that they could score a bigger own goal would be to insult Prince Diana, or maybe Vindaloo.
Personally, I consider this to be a serious diplomatic incident. Come on Gordon Brown, bring your ambassador home.
My take on Fox.
I was in San Diego last year for a holiday with relatives and saw the full horror that is Fox News for the first time as it did its level best to try and discredit Obama. I've never seen "news" reporting like it in my life. It's just a political propaganda machine that dresses itself up to look like a news program. Truth is a very distant secondary consideration behind their drive to blind their viewers with warped and twisted stories, and yank on their heart strings with wild emotive accusations and fake sad faces. Maybe Americans are used to this sort of thing, but as an outsider seeing it for the first time I was shocked. If this is normal, then there is something very rotten and mouldy at the core of American democracy.
The reality is that they're both wrong
While there absolutely must be a minimum level of care - and particularly emergency treatment - provided for by the state, the current level of taxpayer funded spending on 'health' is wholly unsustainable and completely mad.
If one is to look at it objectively, no HEALTH service exists at all in this country, or many others for that matter. A vast drug dispensary, bloated with legions of jobsworth managers does not promote health, it perpetuates illness.
There need to be swingeing cuts made both to management and various 'treatment' programmes within the NHS. Some of these savings should then be ploughed into providing free, organic, freshly prepared and healthy meals at schools and for patients in hospitals.
Money could also be spent on free gym and sports club memberships for the under-priveleged.
This would drastically improve the 'national health', and would provide a real health service .... rather than the bottomless money pit which the pharmaceutical companies and many doctors are only too happy to let continue.
It's the lies that are the problem
"Linehan neatly summarises British responses to attacks on the NHS from US pundits - "It's like if you criticise your parents. You can do it - but if anyone else criticised them you'd murder them."
I really disagree with that - I've found that the problem with many Americans - if you try and make a comment on something there, a lot take it as a personal insult and insult Britain generally... Many are very close minded and guarded when it comes to outside criticism.
I, and I'm sure most Brits, wouldn't mind valid criticism of anything Britsh - what we are so mad about is the blatant lies and spinning to try and discredit the politics. Please, don't bring us into your seedy political games.
Re: My take on Fox. #
You quite obviously never opened the Daily Mirror or the Sun (not page 3, the other bits). Faux news is live and well over here as well... Just delivered via newspapers...
Totally agree, except that the meals needn't be organic- that drives up the cost and gives very little actual benefit except in PR terms. And it's not PR benefit that's important, it's the actual nutritional value of the food.
Additionally, more money saved by making the NHS more efficient would be well spent in Home Ec classes at school- teach kids how to cook a good christmas turkey, how to cook a proper Beef dinner, etc. Get kids away from just cooking cakes and simple rice-based dishes at school!
> Maybe Americans are used to this sort of thing, but as an outsider seeing it for the first time I
Apparantly you didn't turn to other channels then Fox, many of which put on their own theatrics. MSNBC in recent years has tried to become Fox Left -- and their hysterics are just as over the top.
All commercial news -- and NPR is commercial with a subsidy -- is entertainment to a greater or lesser extent. For the Rush Limbaughs of the right, you have folks who are just as bigotted, barely less overtly partisan, and more oblivious to their faults on the left (Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, for example).
There is a good number of Americans who do turn to British news websites for a reality check now and then away from the American news organization's perspectives which all tend to look at things the same way (it's a giant version of group think). Even when you compare "opponents" like Fox & MSNBC, it's really that the agree on the fundamentals and just try to spin the story right or left -- they don't question if the fundamental statement they're spinning is bogus or not.
Perhaps the best thing about the current right wing temper tantrum is it proves in it's own words and actions they are grass roots. No one organizing or leading a group would set out to come across as a bunch of militia members wearing camouflaged tinfoil. It's a right wing version of the left's unfocused moonbats.
A modest amount of true leadership and organization and some rational talking points sent out among the energized right wing / conservatives / liberterians right now would go a very, very long way.
I can't tell from my perspective if there is cohesive guidance developing yet on the opposition, there's some signs it might be, but it's a faint at best.
"He advised Brown to listen in a bit more before making statements"
Politest LURK MOAR ever!
That both brown and cameron will have seen a lot more of the NHS than most of us would have liked. Brown's son having cystic fibrosis (and a premature child who died) and Cameron's late child .
Bit full of it, but...
I have friends in the USA who are seriously thinking of moving to another country, because of the costs of healthcare. And they're the sort of people who can buy a good house.
But being right about the NHS isn't the same as being right about Twitter. It's a good point about the writing style that works.
My possible Tweet:
Yank anti-NHS: How many of you do they want to make die?
There's no denying that US health care is FUBAR.
It has everyone up in arms. The problem is, you have your zealots, fearmongers, and FUD-meisters out there all over stirring up the pot for whatever reason. Mostly money & power.
I personally don't want the current bill because the US congress is just plain out of control. We have two crowds here:
1) the "we won the election, so fuck you, we're going to do whatever we want, and if you don't agree with us, you're a heartless astroturfing bastard, and we won the election, so fuck you, we're going to do whatever we want" crowd,
2) the: "help, help, we're being repressed, we need your money so we can get in charge again and say 'me, too' like we did the last time" crowd.
These are the same crowds that BOTH freely admit they don't read or understand what they're voting on, and the bill in question seems to be changing every time someone finds something they don't like or that gets bad press (and this is the bill that was supposed to pass no matter what). It isn't health care bill per se that is being protested, but a statement of an absolute lack of faith in our elected representatives. Calling the protesters 'unamerican' or treating them like their concerns are false is just fueling that mistrust and turning it into voter rage. These are people in their 60's -- they Just Don't Protest here. Given that reconciliation was boldly proposed as a way to sneak full-blown cap & trade into law, there's very few in the center or the right that believes anything said anymore. If you can do it for one and are proud of it, why not the other? If you can say with a straight face that "we won, you lost, get over it" to people with this level of rage, you may find out that you have a lot fewer friends than you thought you did. In the US, it's all about the undecided middle.
It's no wonder people are getting upset and saying stupid stuff. I do enjoy Obama whingeing like a little girl about being protested, though. The irony is quite enjoyable, but, then, I have the sound of a heart breaking as my ring tone, so I guess I *am* a heartless bastard. Hard to believe that Bush II manned up better, but if you go back in time, his words about protesters were "they have a right to do it".
Every health care system has its good and its bad points. What you Brits have would never work in the US, but that's not a bad thing -- just a fact. We have issues queueing up, and that won't change. Ever. That's the main initial miscalculation that BO made (but impugning the character of people protesting is major fail -- he could have handled it better, but he didn't). We'll get health care right eventually. In the meantime, a lot of people are going to whine, badmouth each other and act like a bunch of idiots, while their elected representatives clean up financially/get elected. Try not to take it personally. It's just like the monkey cage at the zoo -- fun to watch, but watch out for flying turds! (it kind of surprised me that that particular turd made it all the way across the Atlantic).
AC, because I'm watching out for turds and am closer to the monkey cage. PH, because she needs free health care.
Yes Fox is terrible for the fact that it is very firebrand and whatnot. problem being that MSNBC and CNN are no better from the other side. All these channels aim to discredit each other, the people involved, and generally add to the confusion. They are all just smear campaigns in disguise. I guess for myself I just prefer to read stories and discussions instead of them being compressed into 4 minute segments between commercial breaks. At least then I can understand the topic at my own pace and contrast it with another article from elsewhere. But I'm a minority USian for that I read for my news. Although those channels are good for breaking stories but that requires that I own a TV.
If you lived in the US you'd understand what a godsend the NHS truly is. Anyone who is out of work and financially normal can not afford private insurance in the US. Roughly 1/5 Americans are in this predicament.
That means instead of visiting a doctor and getting medical bills they have no hope of paying, they are forced to go to their equivalent of Casualty (ER). This is the most expensive and wasteful part of their system and the bill is put squarely on the shoulders of the tax payer.
You talk about unsustainability of a government program, what about one that insists every doctor's visit for a cold, the flu or whatever minor ailment was re-routed to casualty, taking away services from those that really need life-saving treatment.
60% of all personal bankruptcy in the US is caused by medical bills. Approximately 60 people die every day in the US because they can't afford to go to the hospital. Since 9/11 166,000 people have died in the US because they had no insurance and 800,000 died because their private insurance forced them to either forgo treatment or receive limited care.
Costs in the US private insurance system are set to rise 3 times that of most people's wages and is the most expensive system in the world, despite only coming in behind Morocco in terms of effectiveness - at 39th.
Simply put, when health care is a for-profit system there is no incentive to treat people effectively. The sicker the person is when they leave a hospital the more likely they'll have to return and receive more expensive treatment. There is also no incentive for prevention and educating people on a healthy lifestyle. Instead television is filled with unnecessary commercials telling them to turn their doctors into dealers by demanding new and usually unsafe medications. They have no concept of the dangers of prescription pills and think the more they take the better off they'll be, failing to grasp that taking a combination of medicines could lead to poisonous and fatal interactions.
Americans take more pills, go to more doctors and have more surgery than any other population in the world, which is strange don't you think, when they have to pay for it. They are usually stunned when I tell them most Britons go years between doctor's visits, because they think that having 100% coverage would mean abuse of the system. They almost treat doctors offices as some sort of desirable daily activity.
The NHS and National Insurance is hardly perfect, but it does save lives and it does reduce costs.
The NHS works
Private healthcare is a misnomer. PHC is concerned with profit pure and simple and the best way to ensure profit is to ensure people are not healthy, sorry, people who can pay are not healthy. I can give a number of examples.
Whilst overseas my mother felt unwell and was taken to a private clinic even though she requested to be taken to a state hospital. When I asked why I was told that the ambulance drivers have an agreement with the private clinic to take tourists staying in certain areas to them. Whilst there she had a heart attack and was operated on. The recovery time is usually a few days but after two weeks she was still under sedation. We decided to hire an air ambulance and fly here back to the UK where she went to an NHS hospital and made a miraculous recovery. It seems that the private hospital was keeping her ticking over under sedation to lengthen the stay and up the bill, for which I stopped the cheque.
In the same hospital a patient whose insurance company refused to cover the costs was removed from the intensive care unit and moved to a normal bed. If you are concerned with providing healthcare you do not remove necessary care unless of course he was only in the ICU because the hospital could charge more for it. We learned that on a number of occasions he fell out of bed and was left laying naked on the floor, no cover = no care.
If you do opt for private cover then you will enter a ring of doctors. No matter what ailment you have, once you go see a private doctor they will refer you to others for tests/confirmation or any other excuse they can think of under a reciprocal agreement with the other doctors. This is because insurance companies cap the level of pay to doctors per visit and the only way the doctors can think of to get more money is to pass patients around in this manner. They also get the insurance card swiped again when you return to discuss the results from the other consultations, in effect they get paid twice for the same visit.
The NHS may not be perfect but it's there for everyone and with maybe not as much funding as it would like it does have to prioritise. However, in general terms if something is serious they will fix it pretty quickly. In other topics one sees comments about knee jerk reactions to think of the children legislation based on the media whipping up hysteria over a relatively speaking very low number of cases of abuse. It is the same with the NHS, there are faults, sometimes major faults but they make headlines and are blown up out of all proportion for dailymail reading middle England. Given the choice I'd opt for the NHS.
Thinking about this maybe a solution would be to have all the diagnostivs done by the NHS with medical insurance to cover the cost of treatment. This way you get rid of the ring of doctors and those that feel they will get better treatment in a private hospital can pay for it.
NHS is Ok by me
Disclaimer here: I'm a member of the Conservative Party.
I'm also suffering from Leukaemia and the treatment I have received has been second to none. No hassle or delay.
My American relatives are very impressed with my treatment. One of them is a sufferer from Cancer and halfway through her treatment the insurance company pulled the plug on it. The reason was that she had been treated for Acne as a teenager. She is not in her early '60's and has a brain tumor has nothing to do with it.
There are probably better systems around but I think the NHS could be made far more efficient if more power was devolved to the Doctors & Hospitals.
UK Health Service?
As far as I'm aware, there isn't one.
It's just a pity about their new number...
0118 999 881 999 119 725
Doctors, Managers, Nurses, Politicians - Kill 'em all
As someone who has extensive involvement in the NHS as a patient, direct employee (several times and in several different roles), (management) consultant, friend and relative of numerous medics and nurses I can categorically state that all of these groups are to blame in some measure.
Medicos are very often arrogant and contemptuous (also unknowingly ignorant) of most forms of management discipline, admittedly largely because the actual managers very often have few or no technical or management skills. Politicians have turned a sensible idea into a pit of bureaucracy, arcane doublespeak and an organisation with a horrifically warped and self-righteous culture of incompetence. And don't get me started on nurses. Commenting on madwives is right out of the question; last time I even thought about them needed conselling for months afterwards.
Re: It's the lies that are the problem
It's not "many" Americans, just the loud assholes. They are a small minority, albeit an VERY vocal one. It's still entertaining to watch though, like watching a man hit himself in the nut with a hammer while he is complaining nobody is doing anything about it.
It looks as if it is really aimed for the local market (pooh-pooh UK NHS as there are probably plans for a US NHS).
Who would deny healthcare to people?
A couple of points
In America you have to pay to visit your GP, actually pay moeny to go to a doctor, even if you have insurance there is still a cost per visit.
The NHS pay roughly half the amount of money that US healthcase pays for a given drug.
My friends in America who had their first child a couple of years ago, took the child home from hospital and have not had a single visit from a health worker or representitive of the state, this is normal in the USA. No wonder they have a high infant mortality rate, higher than Cuba.
NHS is better
I rarely used the NHS, but in the 80s when I was a kid I remember waiting for eye drops for 3+ hours. At that point we went on to use a private optician. However, more recently a few years ago I with to their eye clinic and was seen very quickly, and my GP was also very good. All I paid for was the prescription from my GP. Anecdotal evidence, yes. But good anecdotal evidence. The whingers are the same as those that whinge about public transport - the people that never use it.
I think it is poor for dentistry and "peripheral" stuff, but the real core services are better than they have been for a long time.
20,000+ deaths a year caused by errors in the NHS. Year on year.
Forget the US knowing about it. How about the UK citizen and customer.
Source - NHS
USA = Dog eat dog
But if your gigantic Fido-burger makes you feel sick, then you better not look for affordable health care.
only hearing from the Bushtards
Careful to judge America based our very ignorant loud minority mostly republican anti-evolution holier than thou nascar watching mason jar liquor drinking southerners (with assorted loons in every region). They are only good at yelling so loud as to destroy all discourse and winning elections not through better ideas but through better attack ads. That said the thing that is not often discussed is how much of the subsidized affordable medicine through out the world is made possible by the fleecing of Americans and explains some of our stupid expensive medical system. With virtually no government imposed price controls in the USA the health companies here can shift much of the burden of turning a tidy profit from elsewhere in the world. This would be less of a problem except the rest of the world gets the benefits of the latest treatments, drugs, etc that it might not if health care were controlled everywhere. Still I agree many of companies do not use the increase profit as efficiently as possible to fund better treatments by the fact almost every major health company in the world spends more on advertising than R&D.
RE: The reality is that they're both wrong
The reality is that we are moving towards the american system in the age old british way, "the NHS is not running very well, its very inefficiant... it would all be better if it was privatised" as they run it down on purpose. Yea, what we need is more PPP's that bankrupt our NHS, our education departments, and ruin public service.
Much like the Royal Mail, force them to sell there staps so cheap they make a loss, then compain they lose money and provide a 'poor' service by closeing all the post offices they can't afford to keep open, which will of course all be fixed by privatisation, with no artificialy low prices on staps ect.
I for one do not belive our NHS is in such a bad shape, yes there are some reginal issues, but on the whole its not to shabby. As sombody keeps reminding me, some very high percentage of people who use the NHS belive it to be very good, where as a high precentage of people who have not had a relitivly recent experiance of the NHS (i.e. most of us) think its rather rubish. - Preception is reality? - nope.
Fox news never said that and @Fraser
Your comments made it appear that Fox news stated that Stephan Hawkings would be dead under the NHS. They did not. Investors business Daily did. Fox news just reported the reaction from england.
@Fraser. $10 Co-pay is hardly a significant cost. And are you telling me that your friends aren't intelligent enough to raise a child without a health care worker holding their hand? They shouldn't be having children.
And of the infant mortality rate, how many of these are illegal immigrants? The high cost of care for children brought across the border who are high risk has forced a number of the hospitals in the border states to close because they ran out of money.
NWO... Its coming.
Any one know anything about this? seems to me that everyone is wasting their political energy arguing about what the propoganda machines want us to think, instead of opening our eyes to see whats really going on!!!
Why are some yanks so worked up about this? it's the same service offered to everyone (as opposed to an exclusive model that the current system is), and it would cost less.
The only thing that changes is who governs it: share holders, or yourself.
Just go and do it!
what is this
Maybe a reason to actually use twitter !!!
It Crowd humour on the go !!!
im so confused
And of the infant mortality rate, how many of these are illegal immigrants? Go on then, How many are illegal immigrants? ... or are you just using that as a smoke screen because you don't want admit to flaws in the system.
NHS = screening and proactive health care.
Private health insurance = reactive profit optimising.
I'm epileptic and thanks to the NHS I've received free treatment my entire life, had many MRI scans that in the USA would be deemed too expensive, am prescribed drugs deemed most effective rather than drugs from the pharmaceutical company which gives the biggest back hander. The only drugs I've ever had to pay for were some antimalarials and frankly that's fair enough (though unfortunately due to a combination of drug interactions and the region I had to take malarone which is bloody expensive!). I'm starting a new job in october which comes with health insurance but whereever possible I'm sticking with the NHS as despite its inperfections, if I were on twitter, #(I)lovethenhs. [I might get my nose done and some pec implants on the insurance though :P ]
"the wise and funny man"
"Graham Linehan, the wise and funny man behind Father Ted, has been using Twitter to round up defenders of the NHS against ever more insane attacks from US rightwing pundits."
Fixed that for you.