Thursday 14 April 2016

How doctors strikes save lives...


It's OK dear reader, I'm not getting all soft in my dotage, I still think that doctors - give the oaths they swear and the moral high ground they inhabit - shouldn't go on strike. But, slightly ironically, the strike may save a few lives:

Curiously enough, it has been shown that patient mortality typically falls during doctors' strikes, a finding replicating on a number of occasions across different nations. Cunningham et al's meta-analysis is the most notable recent review of this peculiar fact. In one of the most entertaining studies in the literature, the researchers interviewed the directors of major Israeli burial societies, who seemed slightly disgruntled at the loss of business associated with a major doctors' strike in 2000.

One, bemused, reported a 39% drop in funerals as compared to the same month in 1999. Another, much more confidently, was sure that his loss of custom was due to the striking doctors, because he had been in business long enough to see the exact same phenomenon occur in 1983, the last time Israeli doctors had walked out.

As they say - most peculiar. And it raises the question of whether it's all that expensive medicine stuff that's driving our longer, healthier and happier lives or something else.


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