It’s doubtful that “lessons will be learned” from the cross-party Science and Technology Committee and the Health and Social Care Committee’s latest report.

The report focussed on the mega-errors in the Government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.  But 12 hours after the report came out, there was so little interest that the Report was already off the front line on the BBC web page.  On ITV’s web page it came down to story No. 4.  Sadly showing that for years the Great British public has unthinkingly swallowed the mantra that the NHS is the ‘envy of the world’.

Can anyone name a major country that has copied our health system? I can’t.

The NHS is behind the rest of Europe in treating cancer.  When I was lucky enough to be able to get treatment in Europe, friends thought I was mad to cross the Channel; they truly believed the NHS was ‘world class’, so why bother to go abroad?

This week I was lucky enough to have an appointment, in the UK, with a doctor who had trained at the German hospital where I was treated for complications after cancer.  We laughed about NICE (which we agreed is anything but….) and it was delightful to find someone in Britain taking time over my appointment – the German way – rather than the rush, rush tick-the-box and next person please approach in the NHS.

As the Report states, “a combination of this negligence and failure to learn from abroad is a consistent and depressing theme“.  Yes, they can say that again.  I well remember Andrew Lansley, the unlamented Secretary of State for Health under David Cameron, sneering down his nose when presented with proof that other countries were much more successful in screening for Bowel Cancer, and saying “it’s not the NHS way”.

Why not?  If their patients live longer (World Health Organisation can provide the proof). surely we should copy them?

How many more reports like the current one are going to point out that the NHS fails us?  And how many times will these reports be ignored by thr very people who shoulf takr note because they believe the NHS is ‘world class’?  When this report highlights that not only is it lacking, but is too arrogant to copy what is successful in other countries.

The report does say we are world-class when it came to developing vaccines and rolling them out.  All praise to the teams that worked tirelessly on this.  Yes, we can bang the drum over this – but no, we can’t call the NHS ‘world class’, so let’s stop deluding ourselves and get on with improving.
As industry guru Roy Lilley puts it “:
The central theme, running through the Science & Tec & Health select committee report, on Covid, is leadership. Wrong decisions made, at the wrong time.

 

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