How is socialized medicine working out in the UK and Canada?

First, this one from ECM, which appeared in the leftist UK Guardian. (H/T Secondhand Smoke)


Blunders by GPs, hospital doctors and nurses jeopardised the health of thousands of patients when cancer was misdiagnosed or not spotted soon enough, according to an NHS report.

Over a period of a year, doctors failed to spot key signs of cancer, tissue samples were mixed up, some patients were wrongly given an all-clear and vital diagnostic tests were delayed because of staff and equipment shortages, the study, undertaken by the NHS’s National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), found.

[…]When 508 cases were examined in detail, it was found that 177 patients were harmed. Two died, 25 suffered severe harm, 52 moderate harm and 88 low harm. Of a sample of 150 patients, 37% experienced delays of up to three months, 38% of more than three months and some had delays of three years. The government estimates that 10,000 die each year because of late diagnosis of cancer. The UK is poor by international standards at diagnosing cancer, studies have shown.

The post features tons of alarming examples. There’s socialism. When you don’t have your money in your hand, you cannot expect to be treated properly. You need a choice among providers to negotiate the best deal for your dollars.

Next, also from ECM, this one from the UK Telegraph.


The Ambulance service is being paid bonuses for not taking patients to hospital in a bid to help the NHS hit controversial targets.

Patients’ groups expressed horror at the “sick experiment” in which NHS managers have agreed to pay £38 for every casualty that ambulance staff “keep out of Accident and Emergency” (A&E) departments after a 999 call has been made.

The tactic is part of an attempt to manage increasing demand for emergency care amid failings in the GP out-of-hours system.

[…]The bonuses are among dozens of schemes being tried out by ambulance trusts across the country as they attempt to improve their emergency response times and help A&E departments meet controversial targets to treat all patients within four hours of arrival.

Another plan uncovered would see thousands of 999 calls currently classed as urgent downgraded so that callers receive telephone advice instead of an ambulance response.

But we’ll soon surpass them, I’m sure.

But wait! Maybe Canada’s single-payer system is better!

The left-wing Montreal Gazette reports.


Health Minister Yves Bolduc said Friday over-crowding in Quebec’s hospital emergency rooms would be resolved in “four or five years.”

“We have the best health care system in the world,” Bolduc said, while admitting that patients sometimes have to wait for that care.

“All the patients are well treated,” he said.

[…]Quebec still has a shortage of doctors and nurses, he said…

[…]Bolduc announced his newest timetable in response to reports patients are kept for 48 hours and longer in emergency.

As well, relatives are blaming deaths in their families on emergency-room congestion.

From the communist CBC, here’s more:

Guy Morisette, head of the Outaouais health agency, told CBC News that the hospital has worked hard to fix the situation, but recruiting and retaining enough staff remains a problem, and additional solutions such as training personnel and developing new programs are longer-term efforts.

Hospital Average ER Wait Time
Buckingham 20 h 30 min
Gatineau Hospital-Hull campus 20 h 06 min
Gatineau Hospital-Gatineau campus 25 h 36 min
Gatineau-Memorial 17 h 00 min
Maniwaki 10 h 24 min
Pontiac 13 h 12 min
Outaouais average 20 h 42 min
Quebec average 16 h 30 min

Taxing and regulating doctors and treating patients for paper cuts for FREE doesn’t create a shortage of health care at all. Oh, no. And anyway, the politicians just get treated in the USA anyway.

Last, Quebec, Canada’s most liberal province, proposes massive user fees.


Quebeckers are bracing themselves for sweeping increases in taxes, rates and fees after a provincial budget that also proposes a controversial user fee for health-care services.

By proposing a fee for medical appointments, the 2010-11 budget tabled Tuesday represents a shift in how the province addresses spiralling health-care costs, and could trigger a national debate over conflicts with the Canada Health Act.

[…]The user fee would take the form of a deductible that, according to one proposal, would be capped so that total charges do not exceed 1 per cent of a family’s annual income. It would involve charging $25 per medical visit and be paid on a fee-for-service basis. It was estimated under one proposal that a couple with two children making 10 medical visits a year would pay a maximum of $250 annually.

The government of Premier Jean Charest also announced a new health tax to commence in June, 2010, that will be levied on individuals when they file their income taxes. The “health contribution” will cost adults $25 this year and eventually climb to $200 in 2012. Lower-income families will be exempt. When fully implemented, the new tax will generate $945-million a year.

Ontario already has massive income tax rates, property taxes, surtaxes, sales taxes, municipal taxes and health care surcharges of hundreds of dollars a year. It’s not just that they have no freedom of speech, but they die waiting for health care. (This isn’t the Conservative Party’s fault – they don’t have a majority yet to bring in market reforms to lower the cost of health care, and they don’t have a majority of the Senate and not even close to a majority in the Supreme Court).

2 thoughts on “How is socialized medicine working out in the UK and Canada?”

  1. “Quebec, Canada’s most liberal province, proposes massive user fees.”

    This on top of high taxes (which are evaded wherever possible in Quebec, a distinctly corrupt Canadian province), and lavish federal-government transfers into the province.

    Canadian governments think it is immoral for Canadians to pay for healthcare, unless, apparently, the entity being paid is the government. Once they start charging, doesn’t the issue come down to, “who can do it most efficiently”.

    And we all know the answer to that is “not the government”.


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