Thursday, 13 August 2009

The NHS owns your body

Mr. Daniel Hannan has been in America, telling them about the drawbacks of the National Health Service. There is one drawback of the NHS that me may not have spoken of, which is illustrated by the experience of Lisa at Renegade Parent.

I suggest you read the whole account, but the part that struck me is this. When, at just over 41 weeks pregnant, she had not gone into labour, her midwife was of the opinion that she should be induced. Lisa writes:
“When I informed her that, for as long as the baby and I were healthy, I did not want to be induced, the tension increased a notch and she said: "I do not have the authority to allow you to refuse, so you will have to see the registrar at the hospital. He will decide whether you can continue with your pregnancy."”
Lisa opted out of the NHS and got herself another midwife.

I am completely shocked by the line “I do not have the authority to allow you to refuse.” I’ve always been a big fan of the NHS, but this makes me wonder. When a system becomes a virtual monopoly, and is funded by the state, and has power of the state behind it - especially in a country where the state has an urge to interfere in just about every aspect of people’s lives - isn’t it more likely to start treating patients as if it owns their bodies?

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