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Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Leave our NHS alone!

Well, President Obama's opponents, those who think it is God's will that the poor suffer and die without medical intervention, have started to lambast our National Health Service as an example of what would destroy health care in the US, which is of course of such a high standard. For those who can afford it.

From diagnosis to treatment can, apparently, take far longer over here. No one says how many people in the US don't even get into the figures because they could not afford to go to a doctor's to get diagnosed in the first place.

We have to wait six weeks - or is it six months? - to get dental treatment. Actually, what you get is a cheap (or free if you cannot afford it) checkup every six months. There may be a problem in some areas of finding an NHS dentist, and indeed some of them fancy themselves as good enough to go into private practice (after we've all paid for their training) and charge enormous amounts of money. All dentists can undertake private work if they and their patients wish. People in the US seem to regard "English teeth" as appalling. Do they ever go to places in the US where no one can afford even basic treatment, let alone cosmetic work?

No one in the UK has to worry about affording treatment if they get sick. No one needs to dread a member of their family being struck down without insurance. No one has to be afraid that they will lose their medical cover if they lose their job.

As for the quality of the care, well, here are a few comparative statistics from yesterday's Guardian newspaper:

1. Healthcare spending per capita in 2004 as a percentage of GDP US 16% UK 8.3%

So there goes the myth of it being too expensive in comparison.

2. Life expectancy in 2000 US 77 UK 78

Aha! We live longer too!

3. Average annual rate of growth in real healthcare spending per capita 1994-2004
US 3.7% UK 4.2%

We are increasing our spending faster than you, not being stingy with the dosh.

4. Number of acute care hospital beds per 1000 people in 2004 US 2.8 UK 3.6

If I get really sick, then, or if swine flu gets really serious, I have more chance of getting a suitable hospital bed here than in the US.

5. Average length of stay (in days) for acute care US 5.6 UK 3.6

So I get better quicker over here.

6. Under 5 mortality rate (probability of dying by age 5 per 1000 live births) US 9 UK 6

Our kids have more chance of making it to school age!

Oh, and our NHS is ranked 18th among the world's healthcare systems, the US's is ranked only 38th.

When I go to the doctor or hospital, I do not have to pay a penny. If I need drugs, my prescription costs £7.20. If I need quite a lot of prescriptions in a year, I can buy a prepaid certificate for £104. If I am under 18, over 60, unemployed, or have a condition like diabetes, I do not have to pay anything.

There is private health insurance over here. As in the US, the companies try to find ways out of paying. My cousin has a medical condition that he may have passed on to his son, who has private health insurance, paid for by his employer. But the son cannot be tested for it because it would be a pre-existing condition - even though the family has only just discovered it. If you have a heart attack, you do not go to the nearest private hospital, you go to the NHS one. If you have complications at a private hospital, you are sent to an NHS one.

I hope ordinary Americans will not be put off by the Rabid Right's rants. Surely the Christian thing to do would be to welcome healthcare reform. Just shows you what hypocrites these people are.

People of America, do NOT be afraid!


Eliza said...

I'm a big fan of the NHS..and I don't understand the criticism being levelled at it.

I've had 4 kids on the NHS and recieved wonderful care throughout. My mum had a pacemaker fitted a couple of months ago..and despite her other health problems no-one looked at her and said she couldn't have it done..which, if we had the 'death panels' Ms Palin spoke about would have happened.

I do have English teeth, but thats down to my dental phobia, not our dentists..even on the NHS they do their best for you.

Great post Val!!

SnarkAngel said...

The ignorant masses of asses among our citizenry actually believe the untrue hype being fed to them by the insurance industry and pharmaceutical companies and those industries' beneficiaries, a/k/a the right-wing politicians. The level of stupidity in this country is overwhelming ... and quite embarrassing.

ann said...

I was with family for lunch today and we were discussing this issue since my niece is here this week from NY - I have many friends in the US and I am so outraged and disgusted at the poor health care in a supposed golden land. I know people who have to make the choice of medicine or food on the table, because they can't afford both.

I'm on loadsa medication and truly appreciate how little it costs me per annum, the fact that I can call my GP and get an appointment on the day at no charge, blood tests no charge, etc. although of course we do pay for it through National Insurance. The NHS does have its problems, it is not perfect by any means.

My mother is being treated both by the NHS and privately; she needed results from some NHS tests and her consultant told her that because it is not cost effective and too time consuming, results are not sent out... duh!!!!!! She has just had some surgery; today I took her to her private hospital to have the dressing changed at a cost, then we went to her GP practice and there the nurse will do the same for nothing - it's good to have the choice

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