Following the Darzi report we've one of those typical Guardian pieces just insisting that we not only shouldn't, but must not, change the essential structure of the NHS. An insistence which rather fails:
But dig a bit deeper and the arguments of the naysayers begin to crumble. They point to insurance-based systems – like those operated in the US and some European countries – as a solution. But the evidence is clear that these alternatives end up costing more money. The reality is that all advanced countries are facing similar pressures on health and care systems, and ours appears to be managing these as well – if not better – than many others.
These same sceptics say that our system is selling us short by failing to deliver the best possible care. But Lord Darzi finds that over the last decade – despite being the most austere period in its history – the quality of care delivered by our health and social care system has improved. Cancer survival rates are up. A stroke or heart attack is less likely to be fatal. People are more satisfied with the social care they receive.
This past decade is also when we've been inserting more market mechanisms into the workings of the NHS, isn't it? Sure, correlation isn't causation but we've certainly no evidence that more markets means worse, do we?
Further, we've the experience of the three different NHS structures, those for England, Wales and Scotland. That which has had more markets inserted, as with a colonoscope into a fundament, the English has got better faster than the other two.
That is, the very argument being used to insist that we shouldn't have more markets in the NHS is entirely consistent - at least and we'd argue causation not just correlation ourselves - with more markets in the NHS improving things. And if that's the best argument they've got against those markets then we'd better get on with doing a little more inserting, eh?