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Why is now an especially bad time to have a heart attack

America is doing better than most countries thanks to spending so much money on healthcare. But it’s not working. Recently, the average hospital utilization rate exceeded 80% for the first time. Even in the darkest times of the pandemic, few states have reported that their pediatric wards are under stress (defined as more than 90% of beds occupied). In early November, 17 states were in this position, the result of an increase in insects of all kinds in children.

Poor health care has contributed to a staggering increase in ‘excess deaths’, higher than expected in a typical year. In many developed countries, 2022 will prove even deadlier than 2021. Monthly deaths across Europe are now about 10% higher than expected. Germany is in the midst of a massive rise in death rates, and since September the weekly death toll has been more than 10% higher than usual for him. It was 23% higher in early December.

what’s going on? Politicians are responsible, both nationally and regionally. However, the factors causing disruption are common across countries and related to common experiences of pandemics. It may also be nearly impossible for governments to overcome, at least in the short term.

Across OECD countries, mostly rich countries, healthcare spending, which was below 9% before the pandemic, is now not much below 10% of GDP. Of the 20 countries with data for 2021, 18 have him spending more per capita than ever before. Almost everyone has a higher share of his GDP than in 2019. Adjusting these numbers for an aging population does not meaningfully change these findings.

So the problems facing the healthcare system are not due to lack of cash. Much of the increased spending is on programs to fight COVID, including testing and tracing and buying vaccines. But funds are now growing more broadly across the system. In almost every rich country, more people than ever are in healthcare. Total employment in hospitals in 2021 is up 9% from the year before the pandemic in six of the OECD countries he surveyed. According to the latest data, Canada currently has 1.6 million people in healthcare, the highest number ever. Over 12 million people are engaged in “human health activities” in the European Union, a record number. American hospitals employ her 5.3 million, another record.

Perhaps the real issue isn’t the number of staff, but how efficiently they work. Real output in the US hospital and ambulatory care sector, which effectively measures the amount of care provided, is only 3.9% above pre-pandemic levels, while economy-wide output is 6.4% higher overall. increase. In England, elective care activity (i.e. planned surgery) is slightly lower than before the COVID-19 outbreak. In Western Australia, the rate of elective surgery delays jumped from 11% to 24% in the two years to November.

The patient was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, New York.credit:bloomberg

In other words, hospitals are doing more. Declining productivity is an economy-wide phenomenon, but healthcare is now suffering from additional pressure. A recent paper by Diane Coyle and her colleagues at the University of Cambridge considers the impact of her coping with COVID in the UK. “Do and take off” protocols for exchanging protective kits and cleaning requirements after dealing with COVID patients are still in place today in many countries, slowing everything down. Her COVID isolation from non-COVID patients limits bed allocation.

Meanwhile, many staff members are feeling miserable after three grueling years.report in Mayo Clinic MinutesThe journal found a quantitative measure of “burnout” skyrocketed among American doctors. You may find yourself doing less of what you once did on the show, such as staying late or helping another doctor treat a patient.

However, even though productivity has declined, it has not fallen enough to fully explain the medical collapse. This suggests that the real explanation for the collapse lies on the other side of the coin: an explosion in demand.

Coming out of lockdown, people seem to need more medical help than ever before. Some of this has to do with immunity. People said he went two years without being exposed to various bugs. Since then, endemic pathogens such as respiratory syncytial virus have blossomed. Everyone you know has or has had the flu recently.

But the pandemic has also hampered other currently diagnosed conditions. In 2020-2021, many people delayed getting treatment for fear of contracting COVID or because hospitals were closed for her non-COVID condition. In Italy, cancer diagnoses decreased by 39% in 2020 compared to 2018-19. A study of American patients noted a decrease in certain diagnoses over a similar period of time for cancers that are usually detected by screening or routine examinations.

In the UK, NHS waiting lists have increased by more than 60% since the pandemic was declared. More resources because many of the people on the list, and many on similar lists in other countries, are more likely to get sick than if they were treated in 2020 will be needed. lancet public healthAnother journal found that over the next 20 years, deaths from colorectal cancer could be nearly 10% higher in Australia than pre-pandemic trends suggest, partly due to treatment delays. I’m assuming there is.

COVID also continues to increase demand. A recent paper by the Institute for Finance, a London think tank, estimates that illness is reducing the number of beds available in the NHS by 2-7%.As COVID-positive patients draw in resources, providers will Give bad care to everyone. A study by Thiemo Fetzer of the University of Warwick and Christopher Rauh of the University of Cambridge suggests that for every 30 or so additional COVID-19 deaths he has, one non-COVID patient dies.


Needless deaths are not the only consequences of a malfunctioning health care system. People start to feel that their country is crumbling. If you live in a rich country and get sick, you expect someone to help you. And when the tax burden is at or near an all-time high, as it is in many places, someone should definitely be able to help.

The good news is that the backlog created by the pandemic will go away. The surge in respiratory viruses in adults and children has probably reached its peak. Management has made progress in tackling the huge waiting list. But with an aging population and the ever-present threat of COVID, pre-pandemic healthcare may seem like a golden age.

© [2023] Exclusive to The Economist newspaper. all rights reserved.

https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/why-healthcare-services-are-in-chaos-all-around-the-western-world-20230120-p5ce4t.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world Why is now an especially bad time to have a heart attack

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