Wales gets 115% more than England for health spending, but the outcomes are worse….

Wales has many problems, not the least of which is a lack of political competition. This affects aspiration in both health and education. Rationing occurs more overtly, by limiting choice, and gagging is just as frequent. A recent article in The Economist makes the situation plain. Wales gets 15% more than England for health spending, but the outcomes are worse….:

Wales – Full steam ahead from the Feb 20th Edition

“…..many of the policy areas under Welsh control have fared rather badly. Health care is one. A report from the Nuffield Trust, a research group, found that in 2012-13 patients in Wales waited about 170 days for a hip or knee replacement, compared with 70 days in England and Scotland. One reason is that spending on health was not protected, as it had been in England. Indeed, it fell in real (inflation-adjusted) terms by 4.3% between 2009-10 and 2012-13. Wales has also done less than England to increase competition between health providers. People in Ebbw Vale complain of a “postcode lottery”; some cross the border to England in order to get a better service.

Education is similarly mediocre. Welsh schools’ poor results are partly explained by the country’s relative poverty, but not entirely: looking only at those children who qualify for free school meals (a measure of poverty), 26% of those in Wales get five good GCSE qualifications at age 16, compared with 38% in England. Some believe that Wales’s opting out of the “academies” programme, under which most English schools have been made independent of local authorities, has held them back. And although many hoped that subsidising university for all would encourage more youngsters to apply, that does not seem to have happened: Welsh entry rates this year were 32%, compared with 37% in England, where rich students pay steep fees in order to subsidise the poor ones.

Part of the problem is a lack of political competition……”

Adam Roberts and Anita Charlesworth for the Nuffield Trust: A decade of austerity in Wales? The funding pressures facing the NHS in Wales to 2025/26

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This entry was posted in A Personal View, Commissioning, Gagging, Patient representatives, Political Representatives and activists, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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