[June 20, 2007 @ 9:00 am] David Catron

The NHS provides so many object lessons in how not to run a health care system that I sometimes wonder if the people who run it are actually moles planted by some free-market think tank. The latest example of NHS inefficiency, as reported by the BBC, involves basic medical hygiene:

A quarter of the trusts report they are not complying with one of the three standards relating to the hygiene code, covering areas including cleanliness.

But, hey, there is good news here. A whopping 4 out of 10 trusts are in compliance.

The Healthcare Commission said 40% of trusts were meeting all core standards.

This, we are told, is an improvement. Last year, the figure was 34%. Now that’s progress! But what specific issues are the noncompliant trusts having?

On reducing the risk of infection, 14% said they had failed, up from 7% last year … A similar number said they could not say they decontaminated equipment properly – up from 12.6%.

Yikes! And it gets scarier. These data are self-reported by the trusts, and have not yet been objectively verified. In other words, the real numbers are probably much worse.

If this is “free” health care, give me the kind that costs money.

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