Saturday, 12 July 2014

Politics: mirror, mirror on the wall am I the best healthcare system?

How lucky are you to be cared for under  the NHS? #MSBlog #MSResearch

"Not a week goes by without someone from the US emailing me about their MS and how to be treated. Some of the MSers are very wealthy and can make the trip to London to see a private MSologist; some can even afford to pay for alemtuzumab privately. However, the majority of the MSers who email me are uninsured and are having difficulty being treated. One MSer who had highly-active MS was able to get natalizumab free from Biogen-Idec, but couldn't afford the $1200 per month to have the infusions. Not to mention the illegal immigrants with MS who live in California. It is heart-breaking stories like this that make me proud to work in the NHS, despite its problems. I therefore found the paper below interesting; it is a global report comparing the different healthcare systems of 11 nations. The report scores the healthcare systems according to a list of criteria. The NHS comes out on top and the US on the bottom. I wonder what this ranking would be like if we did the analysis based on MS care alone? I am sure the NHS wouldn't come out on top. The EMSP MS barometer that ranks EU countries based on MS services alone places the UK close the bottom of the MS league table in Europe."

"Is this report telling us that that socialist healthcare systems are superior? Many economists argue that inequity, in the presences of a political system that provides opportunity, is the engine that drives innovation and wealth creation and that this is what underpins the success of the US. Remove health inequity, by adopting socialist healthcare, and it is a slippery slope. This is all fine if you are young and healthy, but what happens when you get a chronic illness or get old? The debate about healthcare systems is worth having; it will hopefully make many British MSers realise how lucky they are to have the NHS. The NHS is also the ideal environment to drive change to improve outcomes for all MSers; not the lucky few. This is why we are trying to get MSologists in the UK to adopt treat-2-target of NEDA and to start looking beyond to preventing end-organ damage. We are also working on symptomatic issues and a whole raft of quality metrics to improve the outcome of MSers as a whole."



Karen Davis, Kristof Stremikis, David Squires, and Cathy Schoen. 2014 UPDATE: MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL.How the Performance of the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally. June 2014

The United States health care system is the most expensive in the world, but comparative analyses consistently show the U.S. underperforms relative to other countries on most dimensions of performance. Among the 11 nations studied in this report—Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States—the U.S. ranks last, as it did in prior editions of Mirror, Mirror. The United Kingdom ranks first, followed closely by Switzerland. Since the data in this study were collected, the U.S. has made significant strides adopting health information technology and undertaking payment and delivery system reforms spurred by the Affordable Care Act. Continued implementation of the law could further encourage more affordable access and more efficient organization and delivery of health care, and allow investment in preventive and population health measures that could improve the performance of the U.S. health care system.

14 comments:

  1. I firmly believe that the NHS is our greatest national achievement and the mark of a civilised society. No doubt Labour will restore it to health again after the election. Hopefully, tax will increase so it gets the necessary support it needs.

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    1. Labour will restore.......it is their policies that the Tories are using to privatise the NHS.

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  2. Sorry, but these posts send me into a tailspin and I cannot resist responding.

    To think that we as a nation complacently allowed Andrew Lansley to usher in the insidious Health and Social Care Act 2012 without much in the way of public chagrin speaks volumes about the stupidity of us British. The NHS is being raped and destroyed before our very eyes yet we continue as if all is cool. I read infuriating comments from readers on this blog advocating private prescriptions over universal access to MS care, which astounds me. There seems to be no cohesive thinking when it comes our collective bargaining power as citizens of the UK. We are the biggest stakeholders in the NHS yet our hoity-toity elitist Government refuses to listen to our concerns, instead claiming funding deficits and general malaise. There is a lot of money in the UK, more than is needed to put things right, but the problem is that no-one has the correct vision. I’m a relative youngster but even in my short lifespan I’ve never seen the situation as bad as what it is right now. Nobody has a clue about what is the right thing to do. It’s terrible.

    This is why Scotland wants to go it alone and I for one support them. Who on earth wants to remain governed by a superstructure veering so right that it almost constitutes as fascism? Not me, mate – though I’m not Scottish or anything, which is my bad luck should they actually vote yes in a few months time.

    The Americans are mad. They are brainwashed from a young age to abhor the term ‘socialism’, equating it as something that is both unchristian and unpatriotic. With the vile penetration of American values like obesity, greed and garish school proms seeping into British society, it’s no wonder life in Blighty becomes ever more untenable. America is no model to aspire to, believe me. They suck.

    Britain finding the cash to spend more on expensive gastric band surgery because of our inability to control our eating consumption, yet some homebound kid with MS needing a mobility scooter is told that the NHS does not fund such things, demonstrates just how wrong we’ve gone as a society. What has this nation come to, bruv?

    Let’s all move to Scotland and create a better socialist country with a totally rago universal health system. Let’s show them how it’s done.

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    1. You're so right, Dre. You manage to put into words what many of us are feeling.

      I want Scotland to vote Yes, too.

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    2. Is easy access to healthcare that much better in Scotland? Patients having to travel miles for treatment. In the years of my illness I have been an inpatient Labour, Tory, Labour and then coalition. I know first hand when I got the best treatment. It has been so glaringly obvious who is in power.

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    3. Dre raises an interesting point: Where does this blog stand on independence of Scotland?

      Scotland is synonymous with both MS and research into restorative pharmacology. Independence may make an independent Scotland a scientific powerhouse.

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    4. Anon 9:22 - Do you think that Labour is better for us MSers? I'm asking because you've got the historical perspective that I lack. How have you seen MS care worsen in your time? What can we do to make it better?

      Dre is a legend! He's the reason why I love posts of this nature.

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    5. Anon 12:25 I am Anon 9:22, If I answer your question it will be considered very political and then the nasty comments will be posted from people that have never had the experience I've had. I have contacted MPs both Tory and Labour regarding the issues and one visited my local NHS hospital and the other told me to look at their website for information that didn't exist. I live in a very marginal constituency and I will vote accordingly.

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  3. I have rarely agreed with Dr Dre, but on this occasion his impassioned statements ring true.
    I live in an EU country with a similar health system to the UK. I am taking Fampyra and it has transformed my walking and ability to stand still.
    I'm about to be offered Gilenya, after another baseline MRI.
    If there's activity after 14 years on Rebif, then that's it, I change to Gilenya - I's prefer Lemtrada, but I don't know if that's rationed here or not. My neuro also believes in NEDA - to my surprise.

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    1. Dr dre is the only guy fighting for the rights of all MSers, not merely the select few. Whereas this blog has only the interests of those in early disease and those without progression, Dre puts across the plights of all those in varying states of MS. He addresses universal health care and social implications, not just the betterment of a few.

      Come on an independent Scotland!

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    2. Fighting for the rights?.... Armchair soap box rapper?....

      Surely actions are louder than words....words without actions are hot air:-)

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  4. For those keen to see an independent Scotland who live in England, I would caution that such an outcome would ensure a virtual Tory hegemony in the remainder of the UK, pretty much ensuring that what remains of the NHS would be flogged off left right and centre to the private sector.
    As always, be careful what you wish for.

    Also the suggestion by anon July 13 6.49 that the blog is only concerned about early disease without progression couldn't be more wrong.

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    1. If you're right then even more reason to move north. To be honest, I reckon that if Scotland gets its independence then they'll naturally shift to the centre-right the way they were in the 1950s.

      Still, wouldn't it be exciting to see it happen. Finally, a reason to use my passport more often.

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    2. Don't let MD 2 scare you: an independent Scotland will be good for everyone, including him.

      It's not fair that we in Scotland are governed by a Tory-led parliament even though we only have one Tory MP in Scotland. It's not fair, MD2, nor is it right.

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