26 April 2006
The NHS may be better but how would you know?

The Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, is claiming that the NHS has had its best year ever.  Not entirely surprisingly, her remarks have generated quite a hoo-ha with all sorts of people saying that far from being good the NHS is, in fact, rubbish.

Now, although I would tend to agree with Hewitt’s critics, the question, to my mind, is: how would you know?

In the free-ish world the answer is very simple.  A successful enterprise is one that I choose to do business with and can pay its bills.

Now, while the NHS, with its £80bn budget, or whatever it is, can probably pay its bills (hmm, thinks:“maybe, even this isn’t true”), it is not true that I or any other potential NHS patient chooses to do business with it.  If, by some miracle, the NHS were suddenly privatised and its entire budget handed back to the people who had paid for it, I can’t imagine that the NHS would see much of that money ever again.  No, my guess is that most of that money would be going straight to BUPA.

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