The implosion of the NHS–caused by sclerotic centralized control–continues. Perhaps the biggest scandal in the history of the service has shaken the UK, with thousands allegedly dead due to poor hospital care. From the Telegraph story:
More than 3,000 people may have died unnecessarily at five NHS trusts in a crisis that could dwarf the horrors at Mid Staffordshire, which were detailed in a devastating report on Wednesday. An investigation began on Wednesday night into excessive mortality rates at the five trusts – the same warning sign that exposed the needless deaths of up to 1,200 patients at Mid Staffs.
The trusts in Lancashire, Essex and Greater Manchester have been “outliers” on an index of expected death rates for two successive years to 2012. Within hours of the publication of a report which described the “disaster” at Mid Staffs as the worst scandal in the history of the NHS, the Department of Health released figures which raise the possibility that the “appalling” lack of care may still be going on at hospitals around the country.
Increased power of the healthcare bureaucracy, I believe, leads to lower levels of professionalism, a concern that is validated by the story:
The report says there was “a failure of the NHS system at every level” to detect problems and take action. Despite between 400 and 1,200 people dying needlessly, and despite five investigations including Mr Francis’s £13 million public inquiry, not one person has been sacked or struck off.
Mr Francis said conditions of “appalling care” flourished because managers “put corporate self-interest and cost control ahead of patients and their safety”. He said patients were “let down” by a “lack of care, compassion, humanity and leadership”, with patients having to relieve themselves in their beds because no one would take them to the lavatory, others drinking water from vases because they were not given drinks and “callous indifference” to their suffering by ward staff. Staff who tried to raise concerns were ignored, bullied or intimidated, and watchdog bodies failed to react to repeated warnings.
We are moving in the same direction with Obamacare’s centralized mandates. It isn’t too late for us–yet. But we had better take warning!