"Sicko" Michael Moore has a mad view of the NHS.

Marcus's picture
Submitted by Marcus on Sat, 2007-11-03 19:26

Although I have not seen Michael Moore's new film "Sicko", which praises the British NHS over the US health system, it is being strongly condemned in this country as manipulative and disingenuous.

In a scathing article in "the Times" by Minette Marin, she writes:

"The fourth estate has always had a bad name, but it seems to be getting worse. Journalism should be an honest and useful trade, and often still is. But now that journalism has more power than ever before, it seems to have become ever more disreputable. In recent years it has been brought lower and lower by kiss-and-tell betrayals, by “reality” TV, by shockumentaries and by liars, fantasists, hucksters and geeks of every kind, crowing and denouncing and emoting in a hideous new version of Bunyan’s Vanity Fair.

Outstanding among these is Michael Moore, the American documentary maker. He specialises in searing indictments, such as Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine, and has, without a doubt, a genius for it. Although his films are crude, manipulative and one-sided, he is idolised by millions of Americans and Europeans, widely seen as some sort of redneck Mr Valiant-for-truth.

Nothing could be further from the truth. His latest documentary, Sicko, was released in cinemas last week. Millions of people will see it and all too many of them will be misled."

And this although Minette Marin, an NHS doctor, is ideologically in favour of the idea of the NHS. However, neither she nor those in the NHS that took part in the documentary can bring themselves to stomach Michael Moore's lies.

"Unfortunately Sicko is a dishonest film. That is not only my opinion. It is the opinion of Professor Lord Robert Winston, the consultant and advocate of the NHS. When asked on BBC Radio 4 whether he recognised the NHS as portrayed in this film, Winston replied: “No, I didn’t. Most of it was filmed at my hospital [the Hammersmith in west London], which is a very good hospital but doesn’t represent what the NHS is like.”

I didn’t recognise it either, from years of visiting NHS hospitals. Moore painted a rose-tinted vision of spotless wards, impeccable treatment, happy patients who laugh away any suggestion of waiting in casualty, and a glamorous young GP who combines his devotion to his patients with a salary of £100,000, a house worth £1m and two cars. All this, and for free."

Dr Marin points out some of the true inadequacies of the NHS.

"Many hospitals are in crisis. Money shortages, bad management, excesses of bureaucrats and deadly Whitehall micromanagement mean they have to skimp on what matters most.

Overfilling the beds is dangerous to patients, in hygiene and in recovery times, but it goes on widely. Millions are wasted on expensive agency nurses because NHS nurses are abandoning the profession in droves. Only days ago, the 2007 nurse of the year publicly resigned in despair at the health service. There is a dangerous shortage of midwives since so many have left, and giving birth on the NHS can be a shocking experience.

Meanwhile thousands of young hospital doctors, under a daft new employment scheme, were sent randomly around the country, pretty much regardless of their qualifications or wishes. As foreign doctors are recruited from Third World countries, hundreds of the best-qualified British doctors have been left unemployed. Several have emigrated.

As for consultants, the men in Whitehall didn’t believe what they said about the hours they worked, beyond their duties, and issued new contracts forcing them to work less. You could hardly make it up."

Coincidentally, just this week Rudy Giuliani struck out at Hillary Clinton over the type of socialized medical system (in the UK) she wants for the US.

"Mr Giuliani launched a radio advertising campaign saying that the proposals from Democrats such as Hilary Clinton smacked of European-style socialism that would lower standards in the US.

“I had prostate cancer five, six years ago,” the former New York mayor said. “My chance of surviving prostate cancer – and, thank God, I was cured of it – in the United States? 82 per cent. My chance of surviving prostate cancer in England? Only 44 per cent under socialised medicine.”

However, Gordon Brown's "socialist" Labour Government was surprisingly quick to lash out. They can't have anyone telling the truth about the British health system for a change.

"His advert prompted Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, to make a rare intervention into US politics as he pleaded with Mr Giuliani to stop kicking the NHS. Mr Johnson told The Times: “The British NHS should not become a political football in American presidential politics. Our rate of prostate cancer survival is actually much higher than has been claimed. The latest data shows a survival rate of over 70 per cent – and increasing.”

However Giuliani stands by his facts.

"Mr Giuliani’s campaign did not give an immediate response. But a spokeswoman has previously insisted that he would continue to repeat the statistic and run the advertisement. She said the 44 per cent figure came from an article in a “highly respected intellectual journal” published by the right-wing Manhattan Institute, which he had read because “he is an intellectually engaged human being”.

Hopefully with the combined efforts of pro-Giuliani and anti-Moore's attention the British public will start to wake up to the ineffectiveness of "socialized" NHS medicine. Don't hold your breath, though. In the UK, you might not make it to a good A&E on time Smiling

Quack Michael Moore has mad view of the NHS.

Rudy Giuliani uses the NHS as ‘political football’ to give Hilary Clinton a kicking.

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Socialists need not complain about the Nanny state!

Marcus's picture

Of course it is the inevitable conseuence of such things as Universal healthcare!

That point is well-put here in last-weeks Sunday Times.

From The Sunday Times
October 28, 2007
Cosmo Landesman

"I hear that Ewan McGregor is upset with the restrictions of Britain’s “ludicrous nanny state” and is thinking of leaving the country. Last week we had John Mortimer – playwright, raconteur and champion of civil liberties and the works of John Mortimer – attacking the nanny state and its army of killjoy experts for telling us what we should drink, smoke, etc.

These days everyone hates the nanny state. But there’s something dubious about people in the arts, and especially semidetached socialists such as Mortimer, complaining about the nanny state. What really angers these self-professed lovers of liberty is that their freedom to get drunk and blow smoke in others people’s faces has been curtailed. The nanny state they rage against is really a byproduct of their much-loved welfare state and the belief that government is responsible for the wellbeing of its citizens. If you really hate the nanny state then fine, shut up and let the free market take care of your health needs.

But what could be a more perfect example of the nanny state than the creation of the Arts Council in 1946 and the public funding of the arts. It was founded on the nannyish belief that the arts were good for people and they should drink up their culture like good little children. Would nanny-bashers like McGregor and Mortimer want to end funding of the arts?"



Marcus's picture

However as I understand it, Moore has engaged in such a simplification of universal vs. US health care. So, to criticise his film on that level is valid.

"...the German and French systems are probably better examples."

Maybe. I can't tell. Never used them myself - so I can't compare. However Minette Marin writes,

"This, along with an even rosier portrait of the French welfare system, is what Moore says the state can and should provide...It’s clear our British private medical insurance provision is a rip-off...By ignoring these problems, and similar ones in France’s even more generous and expensive health service, Moore is lying about the answer to that question."

Therefore, acording to Marin's experience, not as good as Moore pretends they are compared to the "mostly private" US system.


Ardent's picture

I agree Moore's film was over simplified and dumbed down.

 However to devide health systems in to socialist and non-socialist is also an over simplification.

 The UK has private healthcare and imcreasingly NHS Functions are run by private companies, with big American Companies such as Capio providing NHS Surgery and Treatment at specialist treatment centres paid for by the Government.

The NHS has in recent years received far greater amounts of funding and investment in hospitals and facilities in recent years has been significant.

The NHS has always offered high standards in respect of Emergency Medicine and the UK Teaching Hospitals are amongst the best in the world.

On the other side of the coin, most American hospitals will not turn away those without medical insurance and many hospitals have funds to treat those who are not covered.

Furthermore American Systems such as Medi-Care etc are little more than socialised Medicine themselves,

Finally most first world countries have so called universal healthcare, and there are many excellent examples of Universal Healthcare. The British NHS is improving but has only received the neccessary funding in more recent times, the German and French systems are probably better examples.



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