On the BBC today:
“A lack of beds is forcing mental health patients in England to seek treatment in other NHS facilities up to hundreds of miles away, BBC research has found. The number of patients travelling to seek emergency treatment has more than doubled in two years – from 1,301 people in 2011-12 to 3,024 in 2013-14.”
If the health/medical care market was as open, diverse and competitive as, say, the food market, then people with mental health problems could get help easily and cheaply – perhaps even at no cost; because there would be any number of alternative providers of mental healthcare services to turn to every time the biggest supplier (i.e. the NHS) has (yet another) crisis and can’t meet its customers needs well or at all.
A lot of people are suffering (and even dying) unnecessarily as a result of building a society based on the false belief that government monopolies do not have the same negative consequences on society that private monopolies often do.
That’s not to argue that we should have a private monopoly on healthcare – that’s not desirable either of course, although it would probably be less damaging and impervious than a government monopoly – but to make the point that having government monopolies doesn’t solve the problem of monopolies. It creates the same problems as monopolies whilst making them much longer lasting and infinitely harder to remove.
In a society as wealthy and productive as the UK’s it is both tragic and ridiculous that thousands of people with mental health problems are having to travel hundreds of miles to get help. This is one of the many shames of interventionism/socialism that will haunt these creeds for centuries to come.
Do an image search on Google and you’ll find a plethora of graphics pleading for us to ‘save the NHS’. But it’s not the NHS we need to save. It’s healthcare.
Let liberty be our highest political end and market forces will bring healthcare back from the brink; and not only that, but in time will produce levels of quality and efficiency far beyond the limited reach of socialised systems like the NHS.