Britain’s National Health Service Engulfed in Crisis. - SenderosdeApure.Net



martes, 9 de enero de 2018

Britain’s National Health Service Engulfed in Crisis.

In 2012, Britons delighted in the spectacular opening ceremony of the London Olympics celebrating British history. One of the curtain-raiser’s most popular sequences, drawing loud applause, involved 1,800 dancers and 320 hospital beds honoring the country’s National Health Service.

Six years on, and Britons are more likely to moan about the world’s largest single-payer health care system than praise it. According to patients, doctors and analysts, the NHS is buckling and close to collapse, with emergency departments over-burdened, hospital wards full and all nonessential operations — more than 55,000 of them — suspended because of a winter surge in demand.

Fueled in part by unseasonably cold weather, an especially virulent flu strain and cuts in social care, leaving hospital beds occupied by the elderly who have nowhere else to go, the winter crisis has brought home to the country the fragile state of the NHS.

Last week, an 81-year-old pensioner suffering chest pains died after waiting four hours for the ambulance service to respond to her emergency call. Patients are being left on gurneys for hours in drafty corridors waiting for beds to become free, and hospitals in the northeast are reporting an outbreak among patients of the gastroenteritis norovirus, dubbed the vomiting bug.

Politics involved
Norman Lamb, a former health minister, blames “tribal politics” for failing to deliver “a solution to the existential challenges facing the NHS and social care.” “The winter crisis of the past few weeks is unfortunate proof that the current situation is unsustainable, and these pressures will only get worse as we contend with an aging population and rising demand for care and treatment,” he said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has apologized for the suspension of non-urgent operations and for some emergency departments having to turn away all but the most grave cases, but she insists there isn’t a crisis and the government is on top of things.