While it will be nice to say “I told you so” when Obamacare leads to bad results in America, I would much prefer to avoid having stories like this appear in the American press. But in the United Kingdom, where government controls more than 90 percent of the healthcare system (as opposed to my rough guess of less than 70 percent in America), these kinds of disasters are becoming increasingly common. Here’s a blurb from a story in the UK-based Telegraph.
Women in labour have been forced to wait while epidural equipment was borrowed from other hospitals, while other patients have been denied chest drains and radiology supplies, according to doctors at South London Healthcare Trust. Minutes of a meeting between medical staff and the trust’s chief executive say “cash flow” problems at the trust which has a £50 million deficit, mean vital equipment is regularly not ordered. A separate letter sent to managers of the trust, one of the largest in the country, says consultants have been misled into carrying out operations when it was not safe to go ahead because of bed shortages. …Doctors told managers “again and again” that consultants were unable to know that equipment was missing until the last item had been used, when their patient was already lying on the table, according to the minutes of June 16 meeting. The document states that Chris Streather, the trust’s chief executive said the situation had improved to the extent that the trust could now pay some of its bills, but that he could not promise that the problem would not recur. It describes “significant risks” to patient safety because of shortages of beds, and “chaotic” failures dealing with such crises at the trust, which also runs Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup, in Kent, and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, London, and NHS units in Orpington and Beckenham, in Kent. Patients affected include a woman who had undergone major cancer surgery who could not be found a bed.