Thursday, November 03, 2005

Health Errors 

Contasting stories. One in The Guardian notes the National Audit Office report on mistakes in NHS hospitals. A story of great importance highlighting where urgent action is needed, without a doubt. More pressure on the 'N.H.S.' and more ammunition for its critics.

Meanwhile over in the Toronto Globe and Mail the same day the story is of a report by the Commonweath Foundation on Health Care outcomes in Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, The UK and the USA.

The finding that a quarter of UK NHS patients experience errors seems consistent with the UK NAO findings. However 34% of US and 30% of Canadian patients report errors - and the UK actually comes off best in this comparison.

The Commonwealth Foundation authors conclude that :
.. no country emerges as a clear winner or loser. All survey countries
experience high rates of safety risks, failure to coordinate care during
transitions, inadequate communication, and a lack of support for chronically ill
patients. These areas of shared concern... will likely require policy innovations that transcend current payment and delivery systems.

So can we discuss our Health Promotion problems without necessarily calling into question the 'National Health' aspects of our sytem?


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