For the health of the nation (1) 162

 A British citizen – which is to say, a victim of socialism – writes a letter to warn against state-provided ‘health care’. Just reading it might make you sick.

(The writer is Madeleine Westrop, who wrote Under the bed at Lambeth Palace, posted October 1, 2008.)

As it is long, we’ll be posting it in installments. 

Dear Americans,

I understand that many of you would like a Universal Healthcare System and I heard that some of you admire our National Health Service, the “NHS”, here in England.  I should say ‘sic’ when I say NHS because it is neither National (you get some medicines in some areas and not in others[1]); nor is  it healthy, nor  much of a service. 

My son has a condition which means that every now and again he will succumb to ordinary infections in an alarming way. He got tonsillitis a few days ago and, despite antibiotics, this became steadily worse until he had painful ulcers all over the back of his throat, on top of earache, fever, a runny tummy and a painful headache. We had to deal with this through our General Practitioner. In England we have to be referred for all treatment by our GPs and we are all registered with a GP practice. This was part of the original 1948 design of the sic NHS, and was a sop to the doctors who mostly opposed its setting up on the grounds that they would lose responsibility if the state controlled healthcare. The sic NHS is now a power sharing vehicle.

So,  on the coldest day of the year (minus 10, which is very cold for England), my GP said that she had done all she could for him and he must be seen by a hospital specialist in Ears, Noses and Throats.  Could I go to a private hospital just around the corner, I asked? No, I must come across town and pick up his notes and then drive to Selly Oak Hospital, go to entrance E4 and up to ward E5 where the emergency ENT doctor would be waiting for him. She  – the GP – did not know the name of the ENT doctor. I decided to forget the picking-up-notes bit. 

This is an interesting point. The National Programme for IT is meant to connect all GPs and hospitals. It is on a huge but vague billions[2] cost-overrun of  440-770%  and time overrun  of about 5 years.  I note that the Obama/Biden plan proposes a modification of existing data and reporting. You might well have the same crazy IT problems as we have. And over and above the expense, do you want the Government to know your health records?  These would include impertinent details such as your race and the fact you might have paid privately for something. The records are available to schools and social services too.  I do not know if they are available here to police or EU officials, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were. What I do know  is that the records will be inaccurate, possibly completely wrong – but that is a whole new story.

Anyway, I got to Selly Oak Hospital and actually found a last parking place (£2.90 for the first hour) and then we slithered through ice and snow all around the vast complex of buildings searching for E4, E5 or any ENT ward. The head porter, whom I met on my wanderings, denied such a place existed.  We did find some ENT type of place but the girl there with a perfectly blank face did not know if we were expected and although she said she would ask the doctor, never did. The porter passed us and suggested there was an E5 ward at another hospital, up the road. So we went to there, to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.  

[1] The Postcode Lottery: various parts of the country have different access to treatment and medicines: for example, beta interferon, in vitro fertilisation, Alzheimer drugs, funding for care homes, and notoriously, cancer drugs such as the breast-cancer drug Herceptin. The Labour Government in 1997 promised to "renew the NHS as a one-nation health service".  They promised again in the 2001 election. For example, they want to force local health authorities to pay for drugs on an approved list formulated by ‘Nice’, the quango set up to approve drugs. However, Nice are notoriously slow and reluctant to approve new drugs so these are not available for some areas. About 600 appeals for drugs are turned down each year, often for non-clinical reasons (expense). If patients buy the drugs for themselves, they are then not allowed to have any NHS care at all for the same condition.

 [2] £12,000,000,000 ish at the last count.


[To be continued] 

Posted under Articles, Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 9, 2009

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