Thursday, November 11, 2004

Socialised medical care

From the Telegraph, why the establishment of the NHS may have been unnecessary: Healthcare in Britain was very substantial and impressive prior to 1948. Even the Labour Party pamphlet, which recommended a "National Service for Health" in 1943, could find little to criticise. There is mention of only one waiting list, for "rheumatic diseases". That implies that there were no waiting lists for all the other specialties and no waiting lists to see consultants. There was no mention of any shortage of doctors (which is so chronic now) or, indeed, of nurses. There was no complaint either, about the quality of care.
Why, then, was this system thrown out, to be replaced by a socialist model? Because, said the pamphlet, a good medical service should be "planned as a whole".
It is certainly true that pre-NHS medical care was not "planned as a whole". On the other hand, it worked.

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