Thursday, August 13, 2009

Faith Healing.

Regardless of what the optimal health policy is, it should be a matter for rational discussion in the same way than any other public policy ought to be.

Yet when someone criticises the NHS the response isn't what one would expect from people who simply have a policy disagreement over how best to deliver a public service, but instead resembles the calm detached level of dispassionate analysis more commonly found in a Pakistani mob who have heard rumours of a Koranic desecration.

Take the reaction to Daniel Hannan's criticism of the NHS:

'Daniel Hannan is a national disgrace', for criticising our health system! Other politicians routinely suggest that Britain kills Muslims for the hell of it or that the IRA were heroes yet this is all within the bounds of reasonable opinion but to suggest that we have a sub optimal system of healthcare delivery render one a national disgrace.

Elsewhere Hannan's criticism of the NHS is seen as uncivilised (presumably mainland Europe and the USA are barbarian lands since their benighted leaders haven't seen fit to institute NHS style systems).

There are many ways of comparing healthcare systems and what criteria are used is a value judgement but after deciding what a health system is meant to accomplish it really should be an empirical question over which country does it best and not a cause for insular and myopic national cheer leading, insisting that the NHS is 'the Envy of the World' (EotW)is not a statement of fact it is a profession of faith unsupported by any evidence whatsoever (I even heard an Labour drone on Newsnight claim that the National Institute for Clinical Excellence was the EotW.

PS- This post isn't about what policy I favour, but suffice to say I don't think either the USA or the UK are close to the top of the table when it comes to health provision.

I also don't agree with everything Hannan says (the NHS isn't particularly 'Marxist' for example).


PeterJ said...

Nobody in the UK thinks the NHS is perfect, although those in political charge of it might say they think that. The reaction to Hannan's comments, and the recent anecdote-driven criticism of the 'socialist' NHS, is that it isn't true. The Stephen Hawking example is particularly telling here.

It is the lying that angers people.

Ross said...

Most of the defences of the NHS are also anecdote driven including that of Steven Hawking, so I don't think that is the reason behind the negative reaction to Hannan's statements.

Matthew said...

Isn't it just simply that Hannan comes across - I imagine even to most of his political supporters - as a particularly unpleasant character?

Matthew said...

Oh, and of course there remains a residual dislike of people attacking the country when abroad.

Ross said...

"Isn't it just simply that Hannan comes across - I imagine even to most of his political supporters - as a particularly unpleasant character?"

I wouldn't have thought so, certainly not for his supporters although I can't really speak for everyone else.