30 Nov 2009

10,000 Unnecessary Cancer Deaths Per Annum Under Britain’s National Health

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William A. Jacobsen notes that we have five times the population, so…. would our death rate produced by service rationing limits and delays really be merely linear, or would it be exponential?

Another day, another exposé by a British newspaper about the failure of nationalized health care. This time, it’s the left-wing The Guardian reflecting on how delays in cancer care cause 10,000 unnecessary deaths each year compared to other European countries:

    Up to 10,000 people die needlessly of cancer every year because their condition is diagnosed too late, according to research by the government’s director of cancer services. The figure is twice the previous estimate for preventable deaths….

    Richards found that “late diagnosis was almost certainly a major contributor to poor survival in England for all three cancers”, but also identified low rates of surgical intervention being received by cancer patients as another key reason for poor survival rates.

    Research by academics at Durham University led by Prof Greg Rubin has identified five types of delay in NHS cancer care: “patient delay”, “doctor delay”, “delay in primary care [at GPs’ surgeries]”, “system delay” and “delay in secondary care [at hospitals]”….

Since Britain’s population is less than one-fifth that of the U.S., the equivalent number of unnecessary deaths in the U.S. would exceed 50,000. The U.S. has cancer survival rates which exceed even the better European countries, so that number may be higher.

Keep that in mind the next time you hear Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) and others throw around fictitious numbers about how many people die in the U.S. from lack of insurance. And this week as Harry Reid and the Democrats tout how Reid’s plan will save families in the “non-group” market $500 on private insurance.


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