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Want an Operation in Great Britain?

You'd better keep two or three dates open.  It seems that the National Health Service likes to cancel operations even after they are scheduled.  A third of the 124 NHS "trusts" canceled an operation at least twice for patients.  Reports the Independent:
More than 7,000 patients had an NHS operation cancelled more than once in the past year, figures from the Conservatives reveal today.   One patient had an operation cancelled 21 times and around a third (34 per cent) of trusts cancelled an operation for the same patient three times or more. The figures were calculated from 124 NHS trusts across England and referred to operations cancelled for non-clinical reasons, including a shortage of beds, missing patient records, staffing problems and a lack of equipment. According to the statistics, 77,302 operations in total were cancelled for non-clinical reasons. Another patient took precedence in 5,968 cases; 10,714 cases related to a shortage of beds; 16,614 were due to problems relating to the operating theatre and 2,635 were down to administrative problems. Another 3,946 were due to difficulties with equipment, 11,370 related to staffing, 404 operations were cancelled because the patient's notes were missing and 11,585 were due to patient-related problems.
it turns out "cheap" health care is, well, cheap.  That's something we should keep in mind as politicians promise to "fix" American health care by increasing government control over the system.