14 October 2011
A study by the Taxpayers’ Alliance says over management by politicians, over-centralisation and insulation from competition is to blame for about 12,000 deaths related to flu, pneumonia, cancer and other infections
LONDON Thousands of individuals in Britain are dying every year from treatable conditions at the hands of the National Health Service (NHS) because of Whitehall bureaucracy, a report has stated.
Despite billions of pounds being pumped into the healthcare system for decades, Britain trails other leading European countries when it comes to saving lives, the report adds.
As per a major study from the TaxPayers’ Alliance, a huge increase in health care spending since 1999 had no discernible effect on death rates.
Matthew Sinclair, the group’s director, said, “We need to learn lessons from European countries with healthcare systems that don’t suffer from the same degree of political management, monopolistic provision and centralisation. “This is a colossal waste of lives and money.”
The report draws on a study, entitled Wasting Lives, an analysis of World Health Organisation mortality data to estimate the number of deaths that could have been avoided in the NHS since the 1980s.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance report said because the NHS is not up to the standard of comparable nations like the Netherlands, France and Spain, people are dying who should otherwise have survived.
In 2008, the latest year for which data is available, 11,749 more deaths occurred in the UK than if it had matched the average mortality rates in neighbouring countries.
This is more than four times the number of deaths from road accidents that year and equivalent to 2,000 more deaths than those related to alcohol.
In a foreword to the report, Nick Bosanquet, a professor of health policy at Imperial College London and the chairman of a consultancy firm, said: “The UK rate of mortality amenable to health care in 2008 was 33 per cent higher than the average rate of the Netherlands, France and Spain, leading to 11,749 more deaths.”
Simon Burns, a health minister, said: “This is exactly why we need to modernise the NHS; to improve results for patients, and deliver a world–class health service. The principles of our modernisation plans — patient power, clinical leadership, and a focus on reducing bureaucracy and waste to make every penny count — will help drive up standards to match the best in Europe.”
The report said, “The NHS is too centralised, overly-managed by politicians and is too insulated from competition. IANS