The NHS is certainly the best loved and most approved health care system, but it’s also the most efficient – or at least it was.
A 2012 report produced by the Commonwealth Fund underlined both.
The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation supporting independent research on health care issues. Its report showed the highest approval ratings for the NHS. Asked whether they felt the need for change, 62% of people felt it needed only the most minor changes. Only 3 % felt it needed fundamental change.
But the Commonwealth Fund’s survey of 15 health care systems – Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, USA – also found that the NHS outperformed most other systems on a range of indicators, and outperformed all when these indicators were taken together. [p 8].
Another report, in 2011, came to similar conclusions.
Comparing the USA, UK and 17 Western countries’ efficiency and effectiveness in reducing mortality, it stated
‘In cost-effective terms, i.e. economic input versus clinical output, the USA healthcare system was one of the least cost-effective in reducing mortality rates whereas the UK was one of the most cost- effective over the period.’
J R Soc Med Sh Rep 2011;2:60. DOI 10.1258/shorts.2011.011076 accessible here
In the same year, Richard Murphy, writing in TaxResearch UK, called the NHS ‘a stunningly cost-effective system of health care.’
Much of this, of course, was before this Coalition government started its systematic attacks on the NHS and its creeping privatization – before it started, in other words, to make the NHS more like the US system
– that’s right the US system – the least cost effective according to the 2011 survey.
All health services in developed countries are facing the combined challenges of demographic change, rising expectation and the increasing possibilities of treatment opened up by medical advances.
The NHS is – or was – extremely efficient – better placed than any to face and meet these challenges.
Yet without a mandate, and, as the Commonwealth Fund makes clear, without any popular demand, this government has chosen to attack it in fundamental ways.
The NHS’s future is not in safe hands.