If you want a thoroughly depressing look at the potential future of health care, consider this tale of malfeasance from the U.K., as reported by the Telegraph:
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is accused in a report being published today of suppressing an internal review that uncovered critical weaknesses in its inspections, which may have cost the lives of mothers and babies.I'm reminded of the immortal words of David Byrne, circa 1980:
Regulators deleted the review of their failure to act on concerns about University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust (UHMB), where police are investigating the deaths of at least eight mothers and babies.
Facts are simple and facts are straight
Facts are lazy and facts are late
Facts all come with points of view
Facts don't do what I want them to
And what are the facts? Well. . . .
Concerns about the maternity unit at Furness General Hospital in Cumbria came to light in 2008, but the CQC gave the Morecambe Bay trust the all-clear in 2010.Ya, ya, I must destroy ze evidence. But what was the evidence? An example:
A report has found that the health watchdog bosses were so concerned about how damning the review would be that they ordered it should never be made public and that it should be destroyed.
James Titcombe’s baby son Joshua died aged just nine days old in Furness General Hospital in 2008 after staff failed to spot and treat an infection, sparking a police investigation.The case of Joshua Titcombe was just one example. And when a report prepared by the accounting firm Grant Thornton documented more of the same, the response was classic bureaucratic turf protection, except worse:
Mr Titcombe said that the report showed a “multitude of very serious failures” and was “quite hard to believe”.
He said there were wider questions about the NHS, claiming evidence was given to the Francis Inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire scandal that there was “possibly ministerial pressure on the CQC not to cause trouble at that period of time”.
“These aspects haven’t been looked at in the detail that I believe they need to be looked at,” he said.
The official who had written the internal CQC report said to the Grant Thornton review team that he had been told his work must be deleted because it was damaging to CQC. He said he felt he was “being put in a very difficult position” and asked to do something that he felt was “clearly wrong”.
The report says the same senior manager “said that he felt very uncomfortable about the apparent weight that was being given in the meeting to the potential media impact and reputation damage his report findings might cause CQC. His view was that the focus instead should have been on patient safety and the protection of service users.”
The same official said he was then asked to write up a different review removing any references critical of the watchdog. “In effect, he had been asked to omit anything that could be considered damaging for CQC,” the new report says.
The original internal review had been ordered after questions were asked about why CQC had given the NHS trust a clean bill of health in April 2010 – registering it without any “conditions”, helping it to win elite “foundation” status later that year – despite serious concerns about the safety of its maternity services.
The decision was taken despite a number of serious incidents, including the deaths of babies and mothers, and a warning by the CQC’s regional director of “systematic failures” in the hospital maternity services which could lead to further tragedy.
It was not until September 2011 that the trust was finally warned that the failings were so serious that it would be closed down without major changes. By then the trust had the highest mortality rate in the country, with 600 “excess deaths” in the previous four years.
The song I referenced earlier is titled "Crosseyed and Painless." That would be an improvement.
There's more, a lot more, at the link. And remember, the NHS is the model that many people would like to bring to our shores.