Medicine as a secular religion
• Hope for long life instead of eternal life
• Fear dementia instead of the Devil
• Exercise cycles and 5 a day fruit and veg
instead of prayer
• Care assistants instead of angels
• Charitable donations to cancer charities
instead of to chantries
The Insatiable Appetite for
• US predicted to spend 20% of GDP on
healthcare by 2020.
• Rate of increase double that of inflation in
• No corresponding improvement in
• 26% of Medicare costs incurred in the last
year of life
Many reasons why
• Who is the client? And is he informed?
• Ignorance and misunderstanding
• Technological complexity
• Ideological faith in technology
• Cost and restricted space
• Economics. Private v. socialized health
• Economists – markets and incentives
• In the NHS where is the incentive to build
a well-designed, sympathetic hospital?
• Why is there such a difference between
NHS and private hospitals?
• Single rooms (less risk of cross-infection