Public health care working as designed in the UK and Canada

The UK Daily Mail gives us a bird’s eye view of the largest government-run health care delivery system in the world.


A mother has described how her baby was left to die ‘like an abandoned animal’ after hospital doctors repeatedly ignored her desperate pleas for help.

Paula Stevenson begged doctors to act as her one-year-old daughter Hayley struggled to breathe in the days after a major heart operation.

She was so desperate she even tried ‘bribing’ a nurse with a £100 shopping voucher to give Hayley the attention she needed. Instead, hospital staff ‘humiliated and belittled’ her – treating her like a ‘nuisance’ for speaking up, she said.

Tragically, Mrs Stevenson’s maternal instinct was proven right when Hayley died of heart failure after both her lungs collapsed under the hospital’s watch.

Yesterday, as an inquest into her death concluded, a coroner said there had been ‘serious failings’ in Hayley’s care. Birmingham Children’s Hospital admitted full liability for her ‘avoidable’ death.

[…]Doctors failed to update her medical charts, were slow to look at X-rays and failed to refer Hayley to intensive care when her condition worsened.

People only care about giving you good service if they have to compete for your business in a free market, where suppliers have to offer higher quality at a lower price. Maybe that’s why the American for-profit system delivers so much better care than anywhere else in the world, and why the socialized medicine system in the UK is a miserable failure at everything except killing patients dead. The customer is never right in a government-run system. You are forced to pay into it first, and then they decide later what treatment you can have – after they’ve already been paid.

Well, maybe that’s just a problem in the UK. Canada has a single-payer government run health care system. Maybe it works better than the UK government-run system? The Montreal Gazette reports on health care in Quebec – la belle province – Canada’s most secularized and socialist province.


Surgery wait times for deadly ovarian, cervical and breast cancers in Quebec are three times longer than government benchmarks, leading some desperate patients to shop around for an operating room.

But that’s a waste of time, doctors say, since the problem is spread across Quebec hospitals. And doctors are refusing to accept new patients quickly because they can’t treat them, health advocates say.

[…]The latest figures from the provincial government show that over a span of nearly 11 months, 7,780 patients in the Montreal area waited six months or longer for day surgeries, while another 2,957 waited for six months or longer for operations that required hospitalization.

The worst cases are gynecological cancers, experts say, because usually such a cancer has already spread by the time it is detected. Instead of four weeks from diagnosis to surgery, patients are waiting as long as three months to have cancerous growths removed.

But maybe the government-run health care systems cost less than the private systems? After all, governments can be more efficient than the private sector, because they have a monopoly and that’s more efficient, right? The Vancouver Sun reports on what single-payer health care costs in Canada.


The true cost of Canada’s health care system is more than $11,000 in taxes each year for an average family, according to Vancouver-based think tank The Fraser Institute.

[…]Institute senior fellow Nadeem Esmail said in a news release sent out this morning: “There’s a widespread belief that health care is free in Canada. It’s not; our tax dollars cover the cost of it. But the way we pay for health care disguises exactly how much public health care insurance costs Canadian families and how that cost is increasing over time.”

The release noted that since 2002, the cost of health care insurance for the average Canadian family increased by 59.8 per cent before inflation.

“By way of comparison, the cost of public health care increased more than twice as fast as the cost of shelter, roughly four times as fast as the cost of food, and more than five times as fast as the cost of clothing,” the release said.

This is the system that Obamacare is trying to force onto us by eliminating private sector health care. We voted for a system that takes the consumer out of the health care business. Now government will call the shots, just like in the UK and in Canada.

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2 thoughts on “Public health care working as designed in the UK and Canada”

  1. I know we’ve had our disagreements re: the Cdn health care system before, but I can’t help saying it again. The Cdn system works differently in each province, and Que is the worst in the country (in more ways then health care… :-P). 30% of our care is actually provided by the private sector partnered with the government system. We do need improvements, but we’re no where close to what’s happening in the UK.

    The reminder is good, though. “Free” health care is not free.

    Also, please, please, PLEASE stop comparing Obamacare to the Cdn system. There is next to nothing in common between the two. Our bureaucratic quagmire will look like a paragon of efficiency compared to what Obamacare is going to be.


  2. This situation in Australia is that if you don’t have private health cover you can still get ‘free’ healthcare, but you will pay in waiting time. The state of Medicare in Australia sounds almost as bad as the British national health, except we have a decent private sector to pick up the slack. Healthcare it seems is the libertarian sticking point, as most people don’t want to pay for healthcare yet still expect the best treatment.


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