The musings of a juggling mother

Rants & raves about life as a woman today, juggling work, home, kids, family, life the universe & everything.

© Mrs Aginoth. The right of Mrs Aginoth to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents act 1988

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Health of the Nation

Tony Blair thinks we all have to take more responsibility for our own health to relieve pressure on the NHS. As the article says, the NHS is under increasing financial pressure, despite the fact that the labour government has pumped money into it to bring it back up to standard after years of tory neglect. The problem is, that more money is never enough, as more people require more & more expensive treatments, for more ailments and for longer lives.

When the NHS was set up after the war, it was designed to treat inuries and curable illnesses. Nowadays, with higher life expectancies, more treatments to manage illnesses and genetic conditions, and an aging and less healthy population, it has grown into an all-encompasing service.

With a mother & sister employed by the NHS, a diabetic & psoriaritic husband & a BiL with CF, the NHS is something I regularly come into contact with. I am completely in favour of it, and of the budget it takes up. Howver, I do think that we need to re-evaluate what healthcare consists of if we are going to sustain the institution.

I was discussing this with a member of our group who is an A&E consultant. He said that part of the problem is that Dr's have convinced the world that they can cure/treat everything, so patients are always expecting their Dr's to give them something, and if that something doesn't work, to give them something else. Sometimes, there really is nothing medical science can do, but we are spending fortunes on drugs that are probably basically placebo's.

I have long thought that one of the problems with modern life is the belief that we should all feel perfect all the time. Life isn't like that. things hurt. Bits of you go wrong. Occasionally we get sick. In most cases, it's nothing other than life. I hear it all the time from friends "I just feel so tired all the time. There must be something wrong. the Dr has checked for anaemia, and thyroid, and ME, and GF, but they all came back negative, but it must be something, so I'm asking for a scan, and X drugs, and a second opinion, and..., and....." Maybe, just maybe, you are tired because you don't get enough sleep! How many £billions are wasted doing pointless tests & giving out unecessary drugs?

Of course, the vast majority of all hospital beds in the country are taken up by people who shouldn't be there. Ask any hospital manager what the problem is & they will tell you about bed-blockers. Usually old people who are unable to care for themselves. Most require some medical intervention to keep them alive, some just need to be fed, cleaned etc. I am a strong supporter of euthenasia. Many of these people are literally being kept alive just because we can, not because it is good for anyone, including them. If you can not move, can not communicate, can not eat, and can not interact with the world in any way, what is the point of staying alive? Would YOU want to be stuck behind your own eyes, staring at a ceiling for 5 or 6 years? Even if inside your brain is working (which is unlikely in many cases)? these people are not going to get any better. Even if we have some amazing medical breakthroughs, so why waste time, money & beds, as well as emotional stress? I'm all for safeguards, but it absolutely should be posible to treat our parents as well as we treat our pets, and offer them peace when/if the time comes.

Also, as those of you you have read my utopian world posts know, I do not believe the NHS should pay for medical "lifestyle choices". These include plastic surgery for non-physical reasons (however much your 14 year old's small breasts are depressing her!), tattoo removal (even if you were stupid enough to have one on your face!), gender re-assignment (we're all trapped in bodies that are not how we imagine them), or IVF (it's not your RIGHT to have biological children.). Accept your life as it is, or pay for it to be done privately. And yes, that leads to differences in lifestyle for rich and poor. I kind of think there are a few other differences already though!

Finally, stffing is a real issue. Like all big institutions, an enormous % of all funds go on salaries. Current policy for dealing with this is to sack as many as possible & not recruit for empty posts. this just leads to staff shortages, which lead to stress & low morale, which lead to resignations & more staff shortages, which lead to stress & sickness, leading to staff shortages, leading to more sickness etc etc etc. "Stress has become one of the biggest causes of staff sickness and costs the NHS (£400-£500million) every year." It is cheaper in the long term to have a fully staffed, well motivated workforce, than to pay out fortunes in sickness, early retirement & recruitment costs. Although I am sure there is scope for cutting some of the managers;-) I do believe good management is key to cost savings too.

On the plus side, for patients there is absolutely no doubt that the NHS has massively improved over the past decade or so. Both in what is available and in the attitude of the Dr's;-) I remember taking an 8 year old child to casualty with an impact to the head & complaining of neck pain, and waiting on foot (not enough chairs, no beds) for 12 hours to be seen. i remember phoning an ambulance and being put on hold (honestly). i remember phoning my GP for an emergency appointement and being told that the first one available was 3 weeks away. None of that would ever happen today! Patient satisfaction levels are rising across the country, and waiting times are falling.

We have one of the most cost effective healthcare systems in Europe (read the whole article, fascinating!) costing approx. £750 per person per year. Compare that to say, Germany at £1286, or the USA ($6280)!!! We also beat the USA on infant mortality rates, and life expectancy! so much for the costs of socialised medicine!

5 Comments:

  • At Wednesday, July 26, 2006 1:31:00 pm, Blogger CyberKitten said…

    Cracking post... and I agree with you on most of it too!

     
  • At Wednesday, July 26, 2006 3:31:00 pm, Blogger Louise said…

    Agree with most of what you say, especially the bit about pointless tests. A couple of weeks ago I felt a bit unwell, nothing specific and I'm sure it was just caused by the weather and the fact I've not had a holiday in over a year and in that time had two family bereavements, my husband and I both left jobs in acrimonious circumstances and we've moved house.

    My response was to take a day off work just to relax and sleep it off. But various family members were quite insistent that I should go to the doctor - and tell him what I'm not sure "I feel bleurgh and yucky? Can you give me a drug that will make the temperature in my office 10 degrees cooler?"

    We are all too quick to demand and easy answer. A bit more thought should go into things before people automatically want drugs to make things right.

     
  • At Wednesday, July 26, 2006 8:39:00 pm, Blogger Paste said…

    Some very good points in that post, especially the ones on our rights/lifestyle choices. Well said.

     
  • At Wednesday, August 30, 2006 1:37:00 pm, Anonymous Bob Tulloch said…

    If you're curious about hospitals in Europe, try www.EuropeanHospitalRegister.com. Detailed information on over 16,000 hospitals in 23 countries.

     
  • At Thursday, September 21, 2006 1:24:00 pm, Blogger backcare said…

    very good blogger site!.

    Do you know BBC News (14/09/2006) Acupuncture for low back pain is cost-effective and works, according to medical researchers. Two studies on bmj.com suggest a short course of acupuncture would benefit patients and healthcare providersThe cost is well below the threshold used by officials to decide whether the NHS can afford to fund a set treatment, they said. Up to 80% of UK residents experience back pain at some point in their lives, costing the NHS £480m a year.—(BBC News 14/09/2006)

    And, What do you think about it? Something as follow:

    Chinese acupuncture practitioner had almost been accused for website’s ads in Bristol

    Dr Zhentong Han is a Chinese registered acupuncturist with twenty years of clinical experience. He is very popular among the patients in the area with outstanding technique. The appointments for him in the clinic in Bradford were always full, however, at Bristol, another place where he set up his business; there were troubles from the competitions in the same field.

    It started at the acupunctural website of Dr Han(http://www.backachetherapy.co.uk), which occupied the NO.1 place in a international websites about acupuncture (http://www.passion-4.net/tables/Acupuncture.html). Because of the large number of patients attracted by this website which introduced traditional Chinese acupuncture for backache therapy,and top position in yahoo and google. it caught great attention of other businesses in the same field in a very short time. Some practitioner even registered company names using key words about acupuncture , and notified Dr Han and other practitioners to stop using the some key words for advertising the website. Or else they would probably be charged by the law.

    Dr Han claimed that he regretted deeply for the matter, but he didn’t want to get involved in this legal dispute, for the purpose of having a website is not to score high on the network, but to have more patients understand the most veracious Chinese traditional acupunctural techniques through his website, so to help more patients get rid of the pain.

    Bristol Chinese Pain relief Acupuncture
    www.backachetherapy.co.uk

     

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