A nice take on the British National Health Service tribute at the Olympics opening ceremony, situating this in the common challenges to healthcare across all systems, citing Don Berwick, the former nominee for US Medicare agency:
- First, put the patient at the center – at the absolute center of your system of care.
- Second, stop restructuring.
- Third, strengthen the local health care systems – community care systems – as a whole.
- Fourth, to help do that, reinvest in general practice and primary care.
- Fifth, please don’t put your faith in market forces.
- Sixth, avoid supply-driven care like the plague.
- Seventh, develop an integrated approach to the assessment, assurance, and improvement of quality.
- Eighth, heal the divide among the professions, the managers, and the government.
- Ninth, train your health care workforce for the future, not the past.
- Tenth, and finally, aim for health.
…. Both beloved and berated by the British citizenry, the NHS is a marvelous social experiment that is nowhere near the finish line. With a most dedicated and caring staff and bureaucratic beyond belief, both, it carries the torch forward. In the former colonies (the US), we take on the task in a different way, but we face the same issues. Indeed, as I have noted, “After all, the countries are dealing with the same organisms, both biologically and politically.” The two types of systems have a tendency to converge in many ways, “Suggesting that — in all systems — a concerted focus on quality, safety, transparency, and process improvement would be well worthwhile.”
Other former colonies, (Australia, Canada, New Zealand) have adopted the universal healthcare approach of the UK, but the issues are common.