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Health Care USA v. UK, Canada et al

Discussion in 'Action Alerts and Advocacy' started by thefreeprisoner, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. I must say here that despite all its faults I DO love the NHS and my treatment has improved over the years. (For example, when I was little and tore the cartilage in my knee, I was told that there were no funds for me to see a physiotherapist. But when I reinjured the knee in 2008, I was offered physio straight away and completed a full course of it in 6 weeks to full recovery. Marvellous.)

    The problem for us Brits is that the NHS is bound by the rules that the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (or NICE, a misnomer if there ever was one) set down.

    The reason? It would be an unfair use of public money to deny a cancer sufferer a life-saving course of drugs and yet pay for a model to have a nose job. There has to be some sort of standard, which is what NICE is there for. Unfortunately, they make some very odd decisions. That's why were all in this mess because GPs are scared to go outside of the guidelines handed down to them - they could get fired and not be able to practise medicine again. Personally I blame the people at the top, not the GPs.

    Rachel xx
  2. joyscobby

    joyscobby Senior Member


    i was going to post something along thoose line re the NHS. I would not like to have a Health Care System that was similar to the US. I have under different circumstances had excellent care from the NHS. For example 2 children with no direct cost, ENT treatment for thoose 2 children at no direct cost etc. etc.
    It is NICE that is our problem. Despite Nice not having a say in Scotland it still has a residual influence. This is because of only having power over Health Care in Scotland in the last 10 years including with regards to ME CFS.
    I have pointed this out before things re this are in the process of changing in Scotland. We still are part of the NHS (NHS Scotland) but it clearly shows up that the Health Policy (NICE) and Guidance on delivery (NICE) and not the service delivery (the NHS) that is at fault.

    If NICE dcided say to follow the Canadian Consensus then we would be tested and treated accordingly. Instead they have followed a policy of denial and hence an exeedingly poor and detromental service delivery, including medical education.
    I have posted on this before so anyone interested can find my links re Scotland.

    There are still Gremlins in the works
  3. George

    George Guest

    It's not pretty here either (grins)

    In America if you have money, no problem, Doctors will belive you have anything you tell them you have. If you tell them you have Lyme and you have the money to back it up (grins) then you have Lyme by golly and the doctors will order any test you want. I know I spent over $30,000 in the 6 years leading up to my final diagnosis with CFS.

    Now I have Medicare. My doctor will not discuss more than one thing per visit with me. Will not order any tests and is totally uninterested in anything I have to say. (grins) That's o.k. cause there's nothing he can actually "do" for me anyway.

    But here in America Money talks. Everything else goes unheard.

    The other thing is that GP's here are like GP's every where. They "manage" based on guidelines. Most of the guidelines are offered in the form of "Recommended Practices" put out by the AMA. For the average doctor that book determines what test, drugs and diagnosis each person gets. As long as the doctors follow those guidelines then they are covered by their insurance company's. So socialized or private doesn't make much difference. The only real difference are the doctors like Dr. Peterson who decided to buck the system and take care of the patient instead of just going along to get along.
  4. Martlet

    Martlet Senior Member

    Near St Louis, MO
    I'm glad to see this, Rachel.

    A family member has severe vision problems - in her thirties. She needed a highly-specialised surgery developed in the USA. On the NHS, she was referred to one of the country's top surgeons, and they flew in specialists from the USA to oversee the operation.

    Then one of my daughters needed knee surgery. No problem. It was done.

    My granddaughter is asthmatic and every cold risks giving her a bad attack. That happened recently. She saw her doctor within the hour and he told my daughter to call him any time of the day or night, if she should worsen.

    A dear friend of mine developed early onset Alzheimers. She is now on the latest medication and doing well.

    One of my uncles had cancer. He is now cancer-free,more than five years later.

    I've lived under both systems and am disappointed to see so much criticism of the NHS when people don't understand the drawbacks of what we have in the USA, where it is insurance companies who dictate what tests and treatment we may receive. Before prescribing a particular medication, my doctor looked up at me and asked, "You have a good insurance company, don't you?" to make sure I would be able to afford it.
  5. Martlet

    Martlet Senior Member

    Near St Louis, MO
    But even when they follow the guidelines, there is no guarantee that insurers will pay out. Again, when we had a "cadillac" insurance policy, I was "allowed" gall bladder surgery. Another person I know was denied the surgery her doctor recommended until it became a "medical emergency." IOW, GB surgery was regarded by her insurance as "elective."

    And the plus with the NHS is that no-one ever has to fear being turned away for lack of money.
  6. Dainty

    Dainty Senior Member

    Insurance companies definitely dictate a lot over here. I don't knwo what things are like in the U.K., but I've shared a hospital room with a woman who was sicker than I was...we were both in the ER with unexplained severe abdominal pain but she was worse than I with projectile vomitting and her skin had turned yellow. They shared that they didn't have insurance so no regular GP would see them; their only hope for treatment was the ER. The doctors ran tests, couldn't find anything major wrong, and sent her home, saying "you definitely need to make an appointment with a GP". When they explained they cannot because they don't have insurance, they were basically told "not my problem".

    And then there's the 17-year-old girl who needed a liver transplant, but her insurance company ruled the proceedure as "experimental" and refused to pay for it. Even though the doctors stated that she would die without it, the insurance company continued to deny the claim for days as she was dying. With public protests they finally relented and agreed to cover it, but by then it was too late...she died mere hours after their "change of heart". I remember reading news stories where the nurses were saying, "Sadly, these sorts of things happen all the time..."

    During the years before my illness became severe, when we were trying to figure out what was wrong and going from doctor to doctor, our insurance company fought us on just about everything. My mom spent hours on the phone every month, arguing over the bill, because they use every excuse and loophole they can possibly come up with to get out of paying. One doctor had in his notes that I might be depressed, and the insurance company used that against us. They won't even stick to their own policy unless someone calls them up and fights them over it. They do not have their client's best interest at heart; it's all about the bottom line.

    According to Wikipedia, "Medical debt is the principal cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States", and the American Journal of Medicine states that over 3 out of 5 personal bankruptcies aredue to medical debt. In other words, if you're personally going completely broke in the USA, it's usually from being unable to pay your medical bills. Does that not happen in the UK?
  7. Sunday

    Sunday Senior Member

    Dainty, I was going to say something along those lines but you said it all yourself, and so articulately.

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