Even Slovenian women live longer!
Why might that be? A combination of highly complex lifestyle and environmental factors? Or is it the evil NHS killing our women?
Yeah, it's the Mail we're dealing with, so:
Experts said the difference can be put down to NHS failures to spot cancer and heart disease early enough - as well as the fact that the British diet is worse than in other countries.
But then of course, it's forgetting that some people in the rest of Europe are immortal:
Much of this is because, as the report shows, female heart attack and cancer victims are more likely to die than in most western European countries.
All right, cheap shot. But here comes that phrase 'experts' again:
Experts say the failings on cancer are down to the fact that patients and GPs are still failing to spot the signs quickly enough.
Although note the subtle shift: it's patients and GPs here, not just teh evilz of the Stalinist monstrosity of the NHS this time. Anyway, instead of a quote from 'experts', which you might be expecting given the use of the word twice, we have instead a quote from the Taxpayers Alliance, who are experts in nothing apart from manufactured outrage about whatever the Daily Mail wants them to be annoyed about:
Mark Wallace, of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said last night: 'It is shocking that England is falling behind other European countries - and even more that we are falling behind a country like Slovenia. We spend a vast amount on healthcare but we don't get the results that we should.
There is a quote from a real health expert underneath, but it's not what the Mail said the experts would be saying:
Professor Field said: 'This is good news for England - and even better news for Slovenia. Slovenia wasn't the poorest part of the old Yugoslavia, and the standard of living is excellent, so it is no surprise to me that it is doing very well.
'We have made progress on cutting deaths from cancer and heart disease, but we can do more.
'Britain might start to slip back if we don't do more to tackle young girls smoking, for example. We need to do more to diagnose cancer earlier, to persuade people to improve their diet by eating more fruit and veg, and alcohol is still causing societal problems.'
Is that really an expert blaming the NHS? Um, no. But I find the 'even the Slovenians' kind of language clumsy at best. There are all kinds of reasons why people are healthier and unhealthier between different countries, with different populations, different habits, different diets, and so on.
It's another one of those classic stories. Generally it's the 'sick man of Europe' story, which the Mail trotted out a couple of months ago, as now complaining about the billions spent on the NHS without recognising that any other factors might be involved - this time it's the 'sick woman'. Of course it may well be an ineffective NHS which could do better, and we shouldn't rule that out; it's just that there doesn't seem to be the evidence to prove what the Mail said was there.
* Or England, rather, in this instance.
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