|The NHS Under Pressure
||[Mar. 11th, 2010|09:48 am]
They let my father in law out of hospital yesterday. I'm not sure he wouldn't have benefited from a couple more days inside, but we understand they needed his bed for someone sicker. They've been housing him on the stroke ward- even though he hasn't had a stroke- because that was the only place they could fit him in. |
I've no complaints about his treatment; the Royal Oldham is a fine hospital with a fine record; but the system is clearly under considerable pressure. Elsewhere, according to what I see on TV, it's beginning to break down. So how's the NHS going to cope when the generation of the baby boomers starts flooding through its doors with the illnesses of old age?
We have a real problem getting admitted to a hospital here, even with private insurance. The insurance companies do not want to pay for hospital stays, so medicine tailors itself to the money flow. If one is filthy rich or a famous person, a sniffle will get them admitted, while one of us gets "drive-through" surgery and long long waits in the Emergency Room. So much for private health care. Your Natinal Health Service is so much better!
Our system is better- but it's being stretched to its limits....
I'd much rather have a faulty NHS than anything that remotely resembles the health insurance situation in the US.
O yes! The NHS is one of our great national institutions. It makes me glad I was born British.
Based on what I'm hearing from my various English friends, it's not going to be able to cope without overt care rationing, which is really tragic.
The rationing is already happening. People are being denied certain new and expensive treatments because the budgets won't accomodate them.
We have rationing here, and have done so for years. When I was on Tufts HMO while I was still working (1997-98) it took about three months to get an appointment with my Primary Care Provider, but I could if ill take my pick between seeing his nurse-practitioner or going to the Emergency Room for several hours, only to be told that I needed to see my own doctor! I've already mentioned about how we cannot get sufficient time in hospital. Fully half of the substances my doctor or his nurse practitioner prescribed for me were not covered by my plan, and were outrageously expensive -- and of course I did not know that I could not afford them until I dragged my sick self to the pharmacy and were presented with the bill, which nearly gave me a stroke! There's much less rationing on Medicare/Medicaid (national plans for the poor and the elderly). No way will I ever buy so-called "insurance" again!
I don't know what the answer is. Modern medicine is so expensive- and someone has to pay for it. Funding for our NHS keeps increasing- but it's never enough...
It's been going on for a while. Two of my friends had their care rationed back about eight to ten years ago. One was a woman of 70 who had a severely infected gall bladder, and was told she was too old to be allowed the surgery even though she would die without it. Her kids managed to pull together enough money to give her the surgery for her birthday present. The other was a man of 42 or so who developed stomach cancer, and was told that since he had only a 10% chance of cure he couldn't get treatment. Luckily he was a small business owner and was able to sell his business to raise the money for his surgery. Both of them are still living.
I was thinking of the sort of blatant triage that can't be practiced now due to public outcry. As in, "Sorry, you're over 70 and this illness is difficult to treat, so you get no treatment. You've lived long enough."
Not so long ago all but the very strongest of us would have been carried off by diseases and conditions that are now treatable long before we reached old age. Modern medicine is amazing- but it creates all sorts of moral dilemmas. Is access to the most advanced- and expensive- medical treatment a basic and universal human right? It's a question we are doing our best to evade.
Very true. Also, when should people be allowed to refuse treatment even if that refusal means their death? We've taken away people's most fundamental personal choice: how to handle their illness and death. We may be forced to give it back.