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Annals of Government Medicine

Socialized medicine seems to lead inexorably to the callous treatment of patients. That currently is the foremost complaint that Englishmen have about their National Health Service. It is very much as though your loved ones were being cared for by postal workers. One thing about the NHS, however: it distributes its lousy health care in egalitarian fashion. It isn’t just the poor who are ignored and left to die miserably, as this story in the Telegraph reveals: “Senior MP Ann Clwyd says her husband ‘died like a battery hen’ in hospital.”

She painted a picture of nurses who treated her husband with “coldness, resentment, indifference and even contempt” – echoing the words of the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt last week.

Ms Clwyd said she had had “nightmares” about what happened, adding: “I really do feel he died from people who didn’t care.” …

Ms Clwyd, the Labour MP for Cynon Valley since 1984 and Tony Blair’s former human rights envoy to Iraq, said she had chosen to speak out because such treatment had become “too commonplace”. “Nobody, nobody should have to die in conditions like I saw my husband die in,” she said during a radio interview. …

Ms Clwyd, 75, was called in at 5am on the morning of the day he died.

“He didn’t have any clothes over him. He was half-covered by two very thin, inadequate sheets, his feet were sticking out of the bed at an angle,” she told BBC Radio 4′s World at One.

“It was extremely cold and I tried to cover him with a towel. He was very distressed, totally aware of his situation. Although unable to speak because of the oxygen mask he let us know he was cold and that he wanted to come home.”

Ms Clwyd said she had seen a nurse’s round once between 2.30pm and 10.30pm on the previous day.

“I stopped one nurse in the corridor and asked why he was not in intensive care, and she said ‘there are lots of people worse than him’ and she walked on.”

It is commonly observed that under socialized medicine, nurses and other health care professionals don’t care about their patients and treat them with callous disregard. But that’s the whole point of socialism, isn’t it? No one has to care about anything.

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