British Healthcare: 'Cruel' to Patients

Thursday, 27 Aug 2009 02:31 PM

By Dan Weil

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Some healthcare experts in the United States have cited the United Kingdom’s government-run health service as a model we should emulate.

But according to a new study from The (U.K.) Patients Association, as many as 1 million National Health Service (NHS) patients have received terrible care.

The study shows that 2 percent of patients believe they receive inadequate care at hospitals. “If this was extrapolated to the whole of the NHS from 2002 to 2008, it would equate to over 1 million patients,” reads a statement accompanying the report.

“Very often these are the most vulnerable elderly and terminally ill patients — it’s a sad indictment of the care they receive.”

The report says the problems exist across the board.

“As a consistent pattern of shocking standards of care has emerged we have decided to publish a number of these accounts to highlight the unacceptable experiences facing patients up and down the country,” the statement says.

“These accounts reveal patients being denied basic dignity in their care — often left in soiled bed clothes, being given inadequate food and drink, having repeated falls, suffering from late diagnosis, cancelled operations, bungled referrals and misplaced notes.”

And that’s not all. The report also indicates “worrying instances of cruel and callous attitudes from staff towards vulnerable and sometimes terminally ill patients,” the statement says.

Some experts who advocate healthcare reform in the United States say Singapore’s health system represents a better option than Britain’s.

“I think we can learn that there is an alternative (meaning Singapore) to the European model that can also contain costs and achieve a high level of health. We’re not stuck with the U.K. or nothing,” Michael Pauly, a health management professor at the University of Pennsylvania tells Newsmax.

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