The BBC announces NHS ‘best health service in world’

Acting as NHS stooge, BBC comes out with story that the Commonwealth Fund in US (bit of a strange association) has named the NHS as ‘best health service in the world’

For anyone who thought this a strange story – if you look up the facts, it all falls in to place.

Investigating

When I worked for UPI, an American news agency, we were taught to look ‘behind’ a story.  To see if there were vested interests, anything that didn’t ring ‘true’, etc.  I worked at events such as the Olympics, where the UPI team of 12 reporters worked for clients such as major media and TV across the world.

The BBC would come in with an enormous team, swarming all over the place;  nice work if you are funded by the taxpayer. BBC reporters would hog the bars, desperately trying to glean ‘eye-witness’ accounts from those of us who had been up at dawn to cover the action first-hand

You only have to watch BBC News at Ten, with a vast amount of reporters supposedly beavering away at their computers providing background shots as News credits roll, and then go to their bbc.co.uk website to see old stories hanging around for days, how seldom the site is updated, and wonder just what the Corporation is doing with our money.

And yet – with its huge workforce, sometimes it doesn’t look at a story and research into the background.  As I suspect happened with their latest story about NHS being ‘best in world’.  Considering that recently the BBC has been full of dire predictions about the NHS and how it is crumbling, alarm bells should have run in the Editor’s head when the story came in – but there is nothing to say anyone listened.

What probably happened

If the BBC had had Bill, my UPI Editor, he would have looked quizzically at the NHS story, and barked ‘find out’.  When authorities as varied as the National Audit Office and World Health Organisation, etc. have produced info that rates NHS as 25th out of 27 European countries for cancer care in Europe;  or 30th worldwide for healthcare, how come the Commonwealth Fund, and American organisation, rates the NHS so highly?

So I did.a bit of digging, and up comes the info that The Commonwealth Fund is a private American foundation that “aims to promote a high performing health care system that achieves a better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults”.

In other words, those very poor Americans that fall outside the system.  And believe me, there is dire poverty in some parts of the States.

Anna Harkness portrait

The Fund was founded by American philanthropist Anna M. Harkness in 1918, and this is the second year that it has ‘awarded’ the NHS top provider for healthcare.  Yes, if you see what is on offer in American hospitals for some of the very, very poor, the NHS is probably better overall.

But the NHS mustn’t let this award go to its head.  The Fund helps those in dire need, rather like international agencies such as Medicin san Frontiers, Missionary health centres, etc.  Anyone who did a Gap year in one of those realises that the poverty and working conditions are dire, but to equate a modern industrial countries’ healthcare, with these, is not helpful.

The NHS may have gained an accolade from the Commonwealth Fund – but don’t let it go to their heads!

There is much room for improvement.

 

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