Category Archives: healthcare systems

Twin corruptors of the NHS

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 19.27.49Discussing the spectacular rise in the cost of the UK healthcare system, Dalrymple writes:

First Margaret Thatcher (inadvertently) then Tony Blair (deliberately) corrupted our civil service—Thatcher by allowing the bureaucrats to pretend that they were businessmen, with perquisites to match; Blair by expanding this class of persons enormously, creating a powerful political lobby.

The British system

is now capable of absorbing infinite amounts of money with minimal benefit to the health of the population, though with great benefit to the pocketbooks of those who work in it.

Men of action

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 22.08.41Doctors, writes Dalrymple,

are inclined to believe that doing something (especially when it is them doing it) is better than doing nothing. They mistake benevolent intentions for good results, believing that the first guarantee the second.

Besides, doing something

stimulates the economy.

Dalrymple comes across a paper by Danish researchers that

assesses the extent to which published reports of trials of screening procedures, such as mammography, colonoscopy, PSA testing, etc., note their harmful effects and consequences as well as their positive ones.

This is important ethically because

screening reverses the usual relationship between patient and healthcare system. In screening it is the healthcare system that initiates the contact, not the other way round. Screening is offered to healthy people, or at least to those complaining of nothing; moreover, the chances of benefit from screening are often slight, and those who benefit do so in a sense at the expense of those who are harmed.