please empty your brain below

I'm sorry to hear about your mum, but am glad that she was well looked-after and is well on the way to recovery. it just goes to show that the better the service, the quicker you mend.

this did make me laugh though:
"It's given me yet another opportunity to observe nursing staff..."

I think I prefer the Swiss way, where health insurance is mandatory and government-run, but the government doesn't involve itself in actually running hospitals and clinics.

Oooh. That was a wicked thought. Can you imagine the havoc if the British government went that way and sold off the entire NHS as a private concern? The headline writers would faint dead away, possibly needing hospitalization themselves!

No-one in their right mind would suggest that supermarkets should be run by the government so I don't understand why anybody thinks bureaucrats and politicians can organise healthcare (or education, for that matter).

Hang on a minute! The government did used to organise food distribution. The result: powdered eggs and rationing.

Maybe it's a government ploy to cope with overpopulation. The NHS should be renamed the 'National Death Service' as it kills more of its 'customers' than any other health service in the world (and the world looks on in utter bemusement at why the British people seems to believe the NHS is a good thing).

That healthcare should be free or very heavily subsidised is another question entirely. That the public sector is capable of running it has already been answered.

I think someone has a rather large gap in their knowledge if they think that 'powdered egg and rationing' was merely a result of bad public provisioning.

"can no longer afford"?!!!! The NHS has been *drenched* in cash over the last ten years.

What you saw in the private hospital was not the sight of money being drained from the NHS but the physical evidence that a state-provided monopoly provider cannot - and never will - work.

We need to separate *payment* from *provision*. Sure - have a national/state payer if you like... nobody anywhere really has a good solution on this front. But when it comes to provision, why on earth should the state own and manage the hospitals? The private operators are clearly better at it.

Good grief! I refrained from commenting first because I thought I might be a bit right-wing!

Like healthcare, cars are complex, and safety is at stake. Yet, with a few rules and regs, the private sector manages to produce good-looking, safe vehicles and choice to boot.

'powdered egg and rationing' is probably a reference to Soviet times, North Korea, Cuba, etc. Fancy queuing for a loaf of bread, or being reduced to eating grass? Well, that's what's happening in the NHS: rationing. You queue to get a hip replacement, and if you are relatively lucky, you get the replacement before you die, but hey, it's "free" so you daren't complain.

Suggest flashgordonz tries being ill in the USA

Flashgordon is clearly advocating paying to view nurses. Which is rubbish.

(Hope your mum prospers, DG)

Excellent,thoughtful post,dg. Of course words like picking and cherry come to mind when thinking about private healthcare. The rich(er) will always be able to afford more and better of anything. But through taxation the poorer can 'buy' subsidised healthcare,inter alia, which they wouldn't otherwise be able to afford.And one marker of a more civilised society is the gap between the top and bottom of it. To talk about what we can afford publicly is meaningless without talking about how much money is raised and from whom and in what ratios ,and how it is shared out. And, of course there are some areas of public spending which are not subject to cost-benefit analysis/rationing... eg Iraq,Afghanistan, Fortress Falklands, etc. etc. But hey, why not leave,for example, all education,housing etc. to the free market, along with healthcare. Yes, it was all go more than `150 years ago and then,well, social reformers came along.... clearly some of your correspondents want to turn the clock back more than one hour.
And to your mother...gute Besserung!

"But through taxation the poorer can 'buy' subsidised healthcare,inter alia, which they wouldn't otherwise be able to afford."

How does that contradict anything I wrote?

It sounds like the system worked exactly as you described: a patient received private-hospital treatment without having to pay (directly) for it.

I would have thought this would be cause for celebration!

Again: you must separate the question of who *pays* from who *provides*.

Hee hee, it all went a bit left-wing after my comment, but I didn't mean to advocate the US system: I agree 100\\% with RGB, who advocated private hospitals, where operations are "purchased" for the taxpayer by the government in much the same manner as they are at the moment, so ability to pay would not factor into one's treatment.
As someone with private medical insurance already, I have paid one-and-a-bit times already for me medicine: once through taxes, again for insurance premiums, albeit the insurance only covers "elective" (non-emergancy) stuff.
"one marker of a more civilised society is the gap between the top and bottom of it" is a bit subjective. Wouldn't you agree that how the people at the bottom are treated is a better measure?

Note to self: Write fewer semi-political posts.

No - write more - do 'Top 10 MP's to Burn' this Nov 5th!

Number one would hardly be a surprise if he did, though.

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