The National Health Service has had its fair share of critics, but in an article in Monday’s Guardian, it was praised by none other than documentary film maker Michael Moore.
His latest, Sicko, released here on October 26, deal with the problems of the United States’ healthcare system. Several NHS workers had been invited to an advance screening of the film and gave their reactions. Most of them hated the worse aspects of the US system, and despite their reservations, continued to say they liked working in the NHS. The article did give the other side of the coin, but mostly in an article about how the government over the last ten years has been pushing for private companies to deliver healthcare, both along and in direct competition with the NHS.
Moore falls into a trap when he looks at the UK’s healthcare services in a positive light. The problem with the NHS today is that it doesn’t strive to deliver what people want. Despite increased funding over the last ten years, the state of our hospitals has actually got worse, with patients dying because of poor basic cleaniless. For basic and life-saving operations, patients either have the choice of waiting several months for an appointment on the NHS, or paying for them to be done in a private hospital. Some even have to go abroad…. mostly to Europe, and even America…. to have an operation. Drug treatments for long-term diseases is often denied to patients because the NHS either can’t afford to fund it or refuses to pay for it. Then there’s the constant political interference, with several managerial reorganisations imposed by the government.
Of course, the US healthcare system isn’t perfect, and there is a fact that around 50million Americans cannot afford health insurance, but their system still strives to provide decent healthcare to the majority of their citizens. Compare this to the fact that 90 per cent of their counterparts in the UK, who cannot get proper access to theirs… unless of course, they go private.