Azara Blog: Surprise, middle class people do better out of the NHS

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Date published: 2007/11/28

The BBC says:

The NHS is a "divisive influence" which favours the assertive middle classes over poorer people, a study says.

The report by centre-right think-tank Civitas said the health service was not providing equal treatment to all.

It pointed out that people in deprived areas were often more in need of treatment, but less likely to get hip replacements or key x-rays.

The report called for more use of the private sector, but other experts said this would just widen inequalities.

Report author Nick Seddon said studies had shown that those on lower incomes made more use of primary care, but were less likely to be referred on for hospital treatment.

He highlighted York University research which showed those in deprived areas were more likely to need hip replacements but less likely to get them.

And the report also mentioned another study which found angiograhy - x-rays of arteries and veins - rates among the lowest socio-economic groups were 30% lower that in the highest.

Mr Seddon said this was partly attributable to the fact that middle classes were more assertive, articulate and confident in dealing with health professionals.
But Alex Nunns, of the Keep Our NHS Public campaign group, which represents health professionals, the public and academics, said: "The middle classes will always make the best of a system.

"In fact, there is evidence to show that when you involve the private sector, it just exacerbates the situation."

Indeed, this Civitas report just seems to be clutching at straws to find spurious reasons to privatise the NHS. It might have escaped Seddon's notice that middle class people, like himself, do very well in life, thank you very much, no matter what the circumstance. If it were up to organisations like Civitas, you can imagine a future privatised health service where working class and poor people could not even afford to have health care. Unfortunately the UK has far too many useless "think" tanks like Civitas.

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