April 26, 2005

A Model of Victorian Domesticity, Part I

This is the first in a multi-part series about the issues in the British elections, for those of you who are interested in the issues and outcomes...

The British election follows many of the same patterns we're used to here in the US. Sniping, oneupsmanship, and disagreements on any number of issues. Like the elections we held last fall, Britain's general elections are also thought to be an unofficial referendum on the Iraq war. At least the Tories hope so.

Beyond Iraq, the main issue is Britain's faltering National Healthcare System (NHS), which has been plagued for many years by inadequate staffing and resources, costs exceeding receipts (from government) and long wait times for diagnosis and treatment. Things that are absolutely unthinkable in the US, at least, if you have health insurance. Each side has a different plan to solve the problem. Labour wants to continue to pour money into the system, to improve infrastructure and allow patients more choice with less wait time. The Tories want to scale back NHS in favor of a growing private medical sector, and give patients incentives to choose private doctors over NHS if they have personal health insurance. Think of it as a kind of school voucher program for hospitals. Neither is a great plan, honestly, but perhaps I feel that way because I am absolutely appalled by some of the conditions that British citizens put up with today in the NHS.
-Wait times for cancer patients to receive treatment from an oncologist vary from 2 weeks to 14 weeks.
--patients can wait 6 months to get an appointment with an NHS dentist
--under the current system (somethign labour is trying to change) patients must see a nearby doctor even if the wait time to see a doctor in a neighboring district is less (sometimes by several weeks)

Obviously the system must change. And you were wondering why we didn't hear much from the Universal Health Care moonbats in the last election? Well, it's not just that they were too busy war protesting, they were afraid we'd bring up the sad state of health care in the UK. Sure, countries like Sweden have thriving, useful, state-provided healthcare systems, but Britain's is on its last legs.

Posted by caltechgirl at April 26, 2005 05:31 PM