Monday, July 27, 2009

Health care news from all over

Britain's National Health Service is facing a big financial crunch:
The National Health Service is facing “the biggest financial crisis in its history” requiring tax rises or large cuts to other government departments just to maintain its budget, a report predicts.

Spending on the NHS has doubled in a decade to more than £106 billion for next year, but the NHS needs to brace itself for a funding freeze that could last for six years, two leading think-tanks say.

The report, by the King’s Fund and Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), suggests that even under the most optimistic funding scenario, the NHS will struggle to meet people’s healthcare needs without significantly increasing its productivity after 2011.
And remember, the United Kingdom recently announced plans to raise its top marginal tax rate to an astounding 50 percent for those earning £150,000 ($248,000) beginning next April.

Meanwhile the Australian government has released a new report on health care in the country. Some excerpts:
More and more, patients who can afford it are seeking planned surgical and procedural care in the private sector as they face long waiting lists and competing demands for emergency care in public hospitals. the attraction of better financial rewards and conditions in the private sector has resulted in surgeons and other proceduralists moving increasingly or exclusively to the private sector. There are increasing concerns that a two-tiered health system is evolving, in which people without private health insurance have unacceptable delays in access to some specialties such as cataract surgery and joint replacements.

...Basic dental care is unaffordable for many Australians, yet we know that the condition of our gums and teeth affects our overall health, wellbeing and quality of life. the absence of early intervention for common, preventable oral diseases such as tooth decay and gum disease results in thousands of avoidable hospital admissions. those who cannot afford to see a private dentist often wait two years to access care through the public dental system.

...Many health professionals have expressed dissatisfaction and weariness for the system in which they work, and are looking for leadership and reform to set the ship back on the right course. For hospitals, in particular, “…there is a pervasive sense of loss – loss of control, loss of direction, and loss of ownership by…health professionals, politicians and the community they are meant to serve."
At a minimum we need to dispense with any notions that a universal health care model is some kind of panacea.

No comments: