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Former NHS director dies after operation is cancelled





Voodoocat
Wow! I think I will stay with my private healthcare here in America. It turns out that the British National Health System is so dedicated to taking care of British citizens that they cancelled an operation not once, but four times! Unfortunately, while the poor lady could withstand three cancellations, four proved to be too much and she is now dead.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1371861/NHS-director-dies-operation-cancelled-times-hospital.html

This just proves that with "free" healthcare you get what you pay for!


Gee, I wish I could have big brother rationing my healthcare. Rolling Eyes
watersoul
[yawn] The Daily Mail [/yawn], you couldn't have picked a much more sensationalist newspaper really.
Tragic deaths sell more papers especially when there's an organisation to blame.

For every 'shocking' story they print there are many more lives which have been saved without any mention anywhere in the media.
Personally I prefer a system which provides imperfect universal health care for all, compared to a system which leaves millions without any access to healthcare.
Oh, we can also purchase pretty cheap private health insurance if we want to, but most folk (as myself) are happy enough with the 'free' one so don't bother.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_the_United_States
Quote:
The United States life expectancy is 42nd in the world, after some other industrialized nations, lagging the other nations of the G5 (Japan, France, Germany, UK, USA) and just after Chile (35th) and Cuba (37th).[10]

Life expectancy in the USA is 48th in the world, below most developed nations and some developing nations. It is below the average life expectancy for the European Union.[11][12] The World Health Organization (WHO), in 2000, ranked the U.S. health care system as the highest in cost, first in responsiveness, 37th in overall performance, and 72nd by overall level of health (among 191 member nations included in the study).[13][14] The Commonwealth Fund ranked the United States last in the quality of health care among similar countries,[15] and notes U.S. care costs the most.[16]


...yeah, really impressive Rolling Eyes
ocalhoun
...Though you need to take US life expectancy with a grain of salt -- in the form of other contributing factors.

Probably has more to do with quantity of McDonald's than with quality of health care.


(Though there is a problem with the USA's health care...)
watersoul
ocalhoun wrote:
(Though there is a problem with the USA's health care...)


The same would be true in all countries to a greater or lesser degree, and I would never proclaim the NHS is without it's problems. This example in itself is a personal tragedy to all those who cared about the woman who died.

...but I just couldn't make judgement about an organisation which saves millions of lives (including my own) by a fear mongering Daily Mail story
Bikerman
It isn't just life expectancy.
It really gives me the hump when US citizens spout (or pass-on) nonsense like this.
The US health-care system is NOT superior to ours in ANY significant way - use whatever metrics you like.
For anyone who wants the data, rather than the ignorant opinion then see below:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/mar/22/us-healthcare-bill-rest-of-world-obama
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
It isn't just life expectancy.
It really gives me the hump when US citizens spout (or pass-on) nonsense like this.
The US health-care system is NOT superior to ours in ANY significant way - use whatever metrics you like.
For anyone who wants the data, rather than the ignorant opinion then see below:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/mar/22/us-healthcare-bill-rest-of-world-obama
As far as I understand from Vood's posting he is not saying that the US service is less expensive, but just the other way round. Since one has to pay for services in the US, there is a better chance of getting the operation that one needs more immediately, than when one is dependent on Government Health Insurance. I've seen that happening when I was living in Canada as well. People can't get an operation when they should, unless they know surgeons who have clout to get them placed earlier in the line ups. When they can't get an early operation (such as a back operation when they are in awesome pain), they may resort to the United States for an earlier operation.

Looks as though the Daily Mail is not that far off with its story though, I found some information that is backed up with statistics from "Health Direct" in the UK as well:
Quote:
Hospitals are cutting back on routine operations like hip and knee replacements as the NHS budget freeze starts to take effect while waiting times are beginning to rise, new figures show.
A survey of more than 60 hospital trusts has found that they carried out almost 11,000 fewer planned or ‘elective’ operations in 2010 than they did in 2009.

The trusts that replied carried out 1,227 fewer knee replacements, a drop of six per cent, and 531 fewer hip replacements.

And they carried out 2,041 fewer hernia operations, down 7.25 per cent, and 1,770 fewer tonsillectomies, a drop of 11 per cent.

The figures are from Freedom of Information requests to England’s 170 NHS hospital trusts, made by the Patients Association, of which 62 responded.

[...]

Source: HealthDirect.co.uk
watersoul
deanhills wrote:
Since one has to pay for services in the US, there is a better chance of getting the operation that one needs more immediately, than when one is dependent on Government Health Insurance.


True, but when one pays for private 'top-up' healthcare in the UK, there is also a better (guaranteed) chance of getting the operation that one needs more immediately.
Anyone who doesn't pay for private insurance at least still gets a chance of treatment, albeit after joining a waiting list.
I don't pay for private healthcare, although I could easily afford the quite cheap costs, I just don't see the need - like most people here.

As I said earlier, it may not be perfect but it's certainly better than millions of people being unable to afford drugs, or even able to hope they'll ever get treatment because they're poor Shocked
ocalhoun
watersoul wrote:

...but I just couldn't make judgement about an organisation which saves millions of lives (including my own) by a fear mongering Daily Mail story

There's a reason it's sometimes referred to as The Daily Fail.
Bikerman
deanhills wrote:
As far as I understand from Vood's posting he is not saying that the US service is less expensive, but just the other way round. Since one has to pay for services in the US, there is a better chance of getting the operation that one needs more immediately, than when one is dependent on Government Health Insurance.

This is a complete fallacy.
One has a 'health service' in the US in which one pays.
We have one where you CAN pay but you don't have to. I can pay and be treated, just like an American can (though it will cost me less, because the effect of everyone paying is market inflation of the average price). The difference is that EVEN IF I DON'T PAY I will be treated within a reasonable time and to an extremely high standard.

In other words the US system has no advantage at all and a massive disadvantage.

The article you quoted is quite correct and is one good reason why I don't EVER vote for the Tory party. They are quite happy to run down the health service, but the problem for them is that they cannot get elected on that manifesto - nobody can. As I said before, the British People are extremely supportive of the NHS and any party that proposed privitisation would be dead ducks, electorally.
The Tory party therefore use tricks and deception to shift services into the private sector.
The main reasons for the cuts, however, are the same reasons that the US is suffering high unemployment and a decrease in standard of living - the recession brought on by the bankers.
In the US the consequences are that millions of people loose their jobs, and with it their health insurance. They are MUCH worse off than ANY UK citizen in that regard.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
The difference is that EVEN IF I DON'T PAY I will be treated within a reasonable time and to an extremely high standard.
OK, then why are there waiting lists for operations in the UK, and in Canada, whereas one can get the same operation in the United States without needing to wait? All you need to have is cash to pay for the operation.

My logical deduction would be that in order for a national/federal health system to work, that they would have to standardize the services. Otherwise it would be too expensive to maintain. The good side of it is that everyone can get medical care for free. The not so good side is that standards would be lower than those in the US where one pays for what one gets.

The services in the United States are very expensive as they are driven by demand. If you have money you can get the best of service by Hospitals that would charge a premium for extra health care. If you don't have money, the medical service would probably be basic and standard.
Voodoocat
Bikerman wrote:
Quote:
We have one where you CAN pay but you don't have to.


I thought that all U.K. taxpayers contributed to NHS, if so, then it is not free for taxpayers. It sounds like the NHS is similar to what we have in America. If you live at or below the poverty level you don't pay for any healthcare or medications: this is called Medicaide. If you are old enough you qualify for extremely low cost healthcare and medications: this is called Medicare. In addition, each State offers its poor a local version of taxpayer supported healthcare in addition to the Federal healthcare. For example, Georgia has Peachcare. Additionally, there are numerous non-profit hospitals. In Atlanta, Grady Hospital delivers millions of dollars of charity medical treatment for Georgia annually. Finally, no one can be turned away from a hospitals without receiving stabilizing care, regardless of the patient's ability to pay.

Many seem to have a view that the American healthcare is limited unless you are wealthy. Quite the opposite, as I can personally vouch. Are there problems? Of course! After all, the American healthcare system is serving a population of 350 million. As a matter of fact, 21% of the U.S. government budget (over 750 BILLION dollars) are spent on healthcare for the poor or elderly.
watersoul
deanhills wrote:
OK, then why are there waiting lists for operations in the UK, and in Canada, whereas one can get the same operation in the United States without needing to wait? All you need to have is cash to pay for the operation.

Same in the UK, you can purchase whatever treatment you like from any private hospital. If someone is rich they will of course be able to buy medical treatment immediately, or if you have a private insurance plan you can expect whatever the particular plan provides.
If you choose not to pay anything apart from general taxes then yes, you might have to wait, but you will get treated.

I suffered this last year:
warning: blood/wound picture
...20+ stitches and a course of antibiotics to treat a (later) related infection in the wound, but it cost me nothing except the taxes I usually pay from my wages.
Not one question asked about how much I earn or who my insurance provider is, just treatment 'free' at the point of need. My hand is now fully functional even after seeing tendons you shouldn't normally be able to see!

I personally am proud that no matter who you are, or how much you earn, or which country you are from, if you fall sick or suffer injury in the UK the NHS will fix you without question.
That is (to me) a true sign of an advanced society.
It will never be perfect, and you can also buy better services in the private sector if you wish, but free universal healthcare is available to all here in a way that millions of US citizens would certainly prefer when they have no health plan at all and are forced to suffer pain etc because they cannot afford the medication Shocked

I made a blog post last December which is related to this topic, Socialist Healthcare? Yep, definitely, I think it sums up my position on the matter quite well.
handfleisch
Voodoocat wrote:

Many seem to have a view that the American healthcare is limited unless you are wealthy. Quite the opposite, as I can personally vouch. Are there problems? Of course!


There are just "problems"? Are you joking? Wake up to reality: 45,000 Americans die every year for lack of health care. Hundreds of thousands of Americans go bankrupt every year due to inadequate health care. You know that Tsunami that just killed tens of thousands in Japan? We have a tsunami of death and destruction every year in the US, except it's due to the US being the only industrialized country without a national health care plan. Fortunately those numbers will go down somewhat as the compromise health care reform takes effect (assuming the corporations/Republicans don't destroy it) but that's still the reality today.

You might want to stop swallowing everything the Free Republic website tells you

http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2009/06/04/78-percent-of-bankruptcy-filers-burdened-by-healthcare-expenses-had-health-insurance/

http://articles.cnn.com/2009-09-18/health/deaths.health.insurance_1_health-insurance-david-himmelstein-debate-over-health-care?_s=PM:HEALTH
Bikerman
I think Watersoul has said pretty much everything that needs saying on this.
Yes, the tax payer does pay toward the NHS, so of course it is not 'free' in that sense and I never implied otherwise. Our taxes here in the UK are not ridiculously high - even by US standards - so the question Americans should ask themselves is 'how do the UK provide a world-class health service for a fraction of the cost that we spend on our broken system?'.

Opponents of socialised health care have tried every trick in the book:
a) Scare stories about how much we pay (about 1/3rd, per person, that YOU pay)
b) Scare stories about how bad our system is (it is better than yours according to most of the important indicators)
c) Scare stories about how this is some sort of communistic wedge-strategy (so stupidly incoherent that it isn't worth spending time on).
d) Cherry-picked examples of problems with our system (anyone can cherry-pick and it would be simple for me to retaliate with horror-stories about the US system, but that is beneath me, and I will continue to stick to solid statistical /factual evidence rather than anecdote).

The simple facts are:
a) The UK NHS delivers a world-class standard of health-care to EVERY UK citizen who needs it.
b) It does this for a fraction of the cost of the US system
c) International comparisons show that the UK system meets or exceeds the provision and outcomes of the US system in just about every important area

You might not like it, but that is, I'm afraid, your problem, not ours.
deanhills
watersoul wrote:
Same in the UK, you can purchase whatever treatment you like from any private hospital. If someone is rich they will of course be able to buy medical treatment immediately, or if you have a private insurance plan you can expect whatever the particular plan provides.
OK, I'm convinced Very Happy Thanks for all the info! I checked through a few YouTube presentations as well and one guy said you don't even have to fill in forms in the UK (John Pilger Ozzie Filmmaker). All you need to give is your name and address. Now that does impress me. I remember when I last saw a doctor in a local hospital here in the UAE, his nurse was sitting with him. She was completing a form for almost every part of the treatment, and he was signing the forms, so about 80 percent of his focus was on administration, and 20 percent on me. He had not even bothered to look at the blood work that was provided during my previous appointment, and was of course paid for by insurance, as he had been completely immersed in paperwork. For you it probably will be surprising, as you don't have any paperwork problems, but everything to do with health insurance here has layers of paperwork. Including, if I should take treatment in a hospital that is not covered, I need to get permissions in advance before the treatment can be covered. Another form to complete.

With regard to the UK NHS versus the medical care system in the US, I found an interesting discussion with a US citizen who has been living in the UK for 13 years (below). He gave quite an honest assessment, that says most of it is OK in both countries, except the provision of the services is different. He sees no problem with the system in the UK, although the buildings are quite old and tacky and some of the medical equipment dated as well, and there are waiting periods. But the waiting periods did not bother him, as they are usually in order of priority, and if it is an emergency, he has always been served almost immediately. He thought however that in general physicians and nursing staff cared more for their patients in the UK Health System, than in the US where the medical services are driven mostly by self-interest.
Voodoocat
It looks like the NHS is running out of money and needs to balance the books by rationing healthcare. This is one of the reasons I am opposed to governmental control of your healthcare.

Quote:
Routine surgery put on hold

Click to play
AdvertisementPeter Kay, president of the British Orthopaedic Association (BOA), says hip and knee ops save society money.
A number of PCTs have been explicit about their decisions to put all routine operations on hold for several months up to April to help balance their budgets by the end of the financial year. They include Warrington, Sheffield, Eastern and Coastal Kent, Bury and Warwickshire.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12964360

It makes you really think that the NHS let this lady die to avoid paying for the operation.

The big problem of the American healthcare system: it is very expensive. There is no argument there. Oh well, at least United Healthcare is not delaying routine surgeries just to save money.
Voodoocat
Even more insidious is skewing referals and guidlines to keep the actual waiting times off of the books:

Quote:
Invisible waiting
Putting routine operations on hold means that GPs simply stop referring their patients for surgery. So although a patient might be waiting longer, this isn't recorded in the official waiting statistics.

Another way of adding invisible waiting time into the system is to implement stricter new criteria which have the effect of delaying the point when a patient can be referred for treatment. An investigation by the BBC also found evidence in many PCT board papers of new thresholds being added for hip and knee replacements.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12964360

Does anyone call delaying medical care to save money world class customer service?

I don't.
deanhills
Voodoocat wrote:
Does anyone call delaying medical care to save money world class customer service? I don't.
You have put your finger on it Voodoocat. One needs to define a frame of reference with regard to what a "world class customer service" entails. It would appear that the NHS system for example is a great example of a service that is available free of charge to the whole of the population, is effective and efficient, and low in cost. From a socialist point of view, it is a great success. But if one looks at it from the point of an above average system where high cost of equipment and tests are accepted as OK, equipment is completely up to date, etc. and not everyone needs to have the same standard of health care, then possibly the framework of reference would be different. I also think one should look at the underlying culture, as the culture in Europe where they are willing to let go of frills, so that everyone can be insured, may be different to the United States, where quite a large number of the population would like to see specialists for almost any ailment, and have expensive tests taken to cover all eventualities right at the initial stage. I think that is at the core of why medical services are so expensive in the United States. Primary Health care physicians act more or less mostly as referral agents for your very lucrative specialists who have all the latest equipment available for extensive and detailed testing. From a European or UK point of view they may feel that that is overdone, but in the US people may feel much safer for being able to have all these tests at their disposal. In the UK there are midwives who take care of women who have babies, whereas in the US one would have a variety of different specialists attending to the different aspects of the baby at great expense.
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