What does this chart tell you? It tells you that it doesn’t matter which party is in power, avoidable deaths and disease – the purpose of any health service – have declined spectacularly since 1990. These are due to improvements in medical technology, public health and the ban on smoking. A juggernaut of scientific advance that has swept aside all attempts by ministers, both Tory and Labour, to ‘improve’ the NHS.
This most welcome fall has nothing to do with the structure of the NHS, or indeed with the NHS itself. Health like transport, food, agriculture, waste disposal, is a function of economic growth and technology – the way it is organised is a side issue. You could day that NHS are now living longer in spite of their politicians.
All populations in the developed world are living longer healthier lives. Medical treatments are also getting cheaper. While a gastric ulcer in 1946 might need surgery costing thousands of pounds, today its treatment – one pill a day – costs 20p a week. Similar charts on this and other indices of health in Europe paint exactly the same picture. There is hardly a cigarette paper’s difference between them.
Never the less which ever party is in power, the one out of power invariably accuses the other of wrecking the NHS. Both the main parties have been in power during the lifetime of this chart. This highly welcome rate of fall of deaths is unvarying and relentless. It is as if politicians did not exist.
In this respect the NHS and other health services can be compared to sacrificial victims of the Incas, having their hearts ritually torn out and held aloft for the baying mob at each election. You can confirm this by reading foreign newspapers. For example the row on trolley waits in A & E is occurring at present in many EU countries. Limerick Hospital Irish Republic. Unlike the decline in deaths and diseases, dinner party ‘yawn-ins’ on the NHS by both Tory and Labour believers are not however expected to abate.©
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