Friday, August 21, 2009

Health Care Stories: London, UK II

Samantha, a social worker within Britain's National Health Service, tells us how it really is within the system. Naysayers, beware! You might not like what you hear.

Fortunately, I've not had many occasions to use the NHS because I am relatively young and relatively healthy. I go for scans and tests as required and have never had to wait for any treatment, but then the treatment that I have received has been minor. Still, some of the scare stories I've seen coming out of the US about lack of choice and long waiting times are not a part of the conception that I have of the service.

Now, it can be said, I'm biased because I work within the NHS, but, in some ways, that makes me more able to comment on some of the situations I see from the inside. Because what I see is doctors among which are some of the most exceptional (with the reams of published research to show for it) absolutely and completely dedicated to provide the best care for any patient that turns up in the hospital and are able to do so immediately on the basis of need.

As a social worker, I never have to think as to whether the people I work with need to pay for prescriptions or make choices about medication or food. The doctors are able and do complete the prescription notes on the basis of need alone. We refer people for tests at the finest specialist hospitals in the country without a second thought and the access is open to all.

Those who choose to seek private health care and insurance are perfectly entitled to under the system we have--there is no bar to that and private hospitals do exist--I just know from my own friends and colleagues that I speak with who have worked in private hospitals that they wouldn't want to be treated there. The NHS has the best medical talent and the best equipment.

There are problems in the system, but, if anything, these have come from increased privatisation of the system rather than the more socialised approach. That's not that I think an identical system replicated would be the ideal solution for the States but that is not what has been proposed.

On a more personal level, my father who would be, at best, considered lower middle class with a low income (between long periods of unemployment) and bringing up three children alone, was able to see my sister treated successfully at Great Ormond Street (which is widely considered to be one of the best hospitals internationally) and he himself has had to access oncology services at some of the best hospitals which has been immediately available to him and with aftercare that could not have been better had he had access to millions of pounds.

He was told, 10 years ago, he would have three months to live, but the care that he has received and continues to receive has been a testament to the remarkable medical professionals that work with him.

Mistakes are made though, I can't deny that but even the mistakes are not made on the basis of income or ability to pay.

London, England

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Paula said...

Shout it from the rooftops! Some care is always better than no care. And, apparently, you have better than "some" care. How lucky you and your family are!

Visual Arts Junction said...

This is more than just encouraging to hear about. Thankx for telling us.

jadedj said...

More, more, more. We need to do this more. I posted a similar thing on my blog today, but more about the British reaction to Repub criticisms of their health service. It only took about 5 minutes after posting it for the slime to come out of the woodwork. I still am amazed at the idiotic repetitious pablum coming from the right wing.

Visual Arts Junction said...

I've posted your link to over 1,200 friends at 17 social sites.

boukman70 said...

Thanks a lot, V.A.J. I really appreciate it.