Friday, August 24, 2007

Don't get cancer in Britain

Cancer patients in almost all European countries survive longer after diagnosis than those in the UK. Only Eastern Europe does worse. The results are bad news for the NHS Cancer Plan, implemented in 2000. Some of the latest results include patients treated after the plan began, but fail to show significant changes in relative success rates. The Lancet Oncology, in which the new data is published, does not pull its punches. "So has the cancer plan worked?" it asks. "The short answer is seemingly No."

The new information comes from a group called Eurocare, which organises the largest cooperative study across Europe of cancer patients. In The Lancet Oncology, the group publishes two analyses, one covering patients whose disease was diagnosed between 1995 and 1999, and the second covering those between 2000 and 2002. In general, five-year survival (generally a proxy for "cure") is highest in Nordic Countries and Central Europe, intermediate in southern Europe, lower in the UK and Ireland, and lowest of all in Eastern Europe.

Countries that spend more on health generally do better, but Denmark and Britain have lower survival rates than other countries that spend comparable amounts. The study finds that the gaps have narrowed since the last survey but they remain significant.

Europe's survival rates are lower than in the US, where 66.3 per cent of men and 62.9 per cent of women survive for five years, compared with 47.3 per cent of European men and 55.8 per cent of women. These figures may represent earlier diagnosis.


Healthcare reform Hillary voted against

Karl Rove took a stab at Hillary Clinton on Sunday. He points out that Hillary's vision of healthcare reform is to "let the government do it all." Here's a recent list from Rove, outlining all of the positive reforms Hillary has voted against ... simply because it takes power away from government and gives it to the individual.

* She voted against providing seniors with a prescription drug benefit.

* She voted against allowing people to save tax free for their out-of-pocket medical expenses.

* She voted against medical liability reform so that docs are not forced out of practice by junk lawsuits.

* She opposes leveling the playing field so that people who pay for health insurance out of their own pocket get the same tax break the big corporations get for providing health care benefits to their employees.

* She's against allowing people to shop for health insurance across state lines like we do with auto insurance so the consumers would have more choices and there'd be competition to get your business, give you more for less.

* She's voting for penalizing seniors who have those private health care plans through Medicare.

Take a look at the list. Think about all of those items. Every one of those reforms would have empowered the people. Every one of those reforms would have allowed people to take a bit more responsibility for their own health care. That is precisely why Hillary voted against each and every one of them. As on most issues, Democrats are anti freedom control freaks. They don't trust the market and they keep pushing things to make the market not work.


Australia: Patients walking out of government hospital emergency rooms untreated

After many hours of waiting. Some are just too ill to sit it out any further

PATIENTS are more likely to leave the Sunshine Hospital's emergency department before treatment than any other Melbourne ER. Figures tabled in State Parliament show 4657 patients walked out of the Sunshine emergency department last year, a rate of 7.6 per cent. The average across Melbourne during 2006 was 5 per cent, or 31,437 people. This was an increase from 30,152 patients in 2005. The official figures show fewer than 1 per cent of patients walk out, against medical advice, after treatment has started.

Opposition health spokeswoman Helen Shardey said Melbourne's major hospital emergency departments were not coping. "People are giving up and walking out," Ms Shardey said. "Of more concern is the fact we don't know what happened to these people." Ms Shardey said the figures were in contrast to claims by Health Minister Daniel Andrews that Victoria had a first-class health system. "He is failing to recognise that Victorians are just not getting the treatment they deserve in urgent situations because our major hospitals are simply not coping," Ms Shardey said.

Australian Medical Association Victorian president Doug Travis said hospitals lacked the resources to cope with demand. "(Patients) wait half an hour, one hour, two hours, and they walk out," Dr Travis said. "What we need is a commitment from the Government to understand the fact we don't have enough capacity in the system."

A spokesman for the Health Minister said Victoria's emergency departments were rated as the best in Australia. "More than half of all patients were seen by a doctor or nurse in a Victorian hospital within 19 minutes of arrival compared to the national average of 24 minutes," spokesman Tim Pigot said. [What amazing bull! The wait is 3 to 8 hours]


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