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A reminder of how lucky we are

  Forum Editor 19:08 30 Dec 2010

came my way today.

I had to take a family friend to hospital in London - nothing serious, just some tests - and I dreaded what I thought would be the inevitable waiting around.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. We arrived for the 1:00 p.m. appointment at 12:45, and twenty minutes later my friend was being asked to sign a consent form for the tests. We waited another ten minutes in a quiet, pleasant room, and a doctor arrived to explain what was about to happen. He couldn't have been more pleasant and patient, answering several questions, and explaining to me that my friend was to be sedated, so would need me to take care of her for a few hours afterwards.

The procedure took about an hour, then another hour in a peaceful, modern recovery room with people bringing us both tea, coffee and biscuits. The we were out,and into the car. The whole thing lasted about two and a half hours, and was an object lesson in professional, efficient patient care.

I was very impressed, and thought I would share the experience with you - we see plenty of criticism of the NHS in the media, and sometimes here in the forum. Obviously there are good and bad hospitals, and admittedly we went to a major London one (UCH), but based on what I saw today we have a lot to be thankful for.

  Forum Editor 14:23 03 Jan 2011

If they do, they are seriously misguided.

In 1950 around 60 out of every thousand children died before their fifth birthday. In 1999 that figure had dropped to 5 children in a thousand.

In the early part of the 20th century sixty out of every hundred people died before their 60th birthday. By 1995 that figure had dropped to 12 out of a hundred.

In 1901 the life expectancy for a man was 45 years, and 49 years for a woman.

A man born in 2000 can expect to live for 75 years, and a woman for 80.

Yep, that's why they called it the good old days.

  Jameslayer 16:13 03 Jan 2011

Could the NHS be better than the answer is yes. Is the overall quality of the NHS good I think it is.

Out of interest how much money does the private sector get per patient compared the NHS?

If you look at America they have had problems with bad doctors etc and cover ups.

  Jameslayer 19:48 03 Jan 2011

buteman or they can look at your records on the system. Which should have all the info needed.
If you need a emergency appointment then you should just be happy to have got in.

I have no idea how many patients the average GP has or the number of hours they work.

  Jameslayer 20:48 03 Jan 2011

Buteman if you are being made to wait 8 days to see your doctor I would complain. I think the most I waited was 2 days.

If your temporary doctor was incompetent then report him.

  Forum Editor 00:58 04 Jan 2011

were better and more caring in the old days"

But that's an opinion based on a nostalgic view of the past. The truth of course is that you're talking about one doctor, and there have always been doctors who are better at their jobs than others - just as there are solicitors and accountants who are better than others.

In the 1950's the average GP did around 80% of all consultations in the surgery, and 20% in the home. Nowadays only about 7% are home visits, mainly because GPs have much larger patient lists than they did 60 years ago. Nevertheless, if you are too ill to make it to the surgery a doctor will visit you at home, and although it may not be 'your' doctor, when you're really ill you probably don't care, as long as a doctor comes.

  Forum Editor 10:28 04 Jan 2011

"Please stop claimimg the we recieve free medical treatment"

Certainly not, because it's a fact.

The average cost to the NHS of processing one patient through a hospital A&E department in London is £1500. That takes care of almost all your calculated £1600 a year in one go.

An operation for a hip replacement costs between £4000 and £7000.

Heart valve surgery costs around £11,000 a time.

Cataract surgery comes in at between £900 and £1300

How much BUPA cover would you get for your £1600?

Well, £1600 would certainly get you a year's health cover, but you'll be presented with a list of around 20 conditions that are not covered under your policy - all of which are provided free of charge by the NHS.

Things like Deafness,allergies,Dialysis,Dressings for take home use,eyesight defects,pregnancy and childbirth,health screening,speech disorders.

Of course we all pay for the NHS, but the value for money is unmatched by any private health care scheme you care to mention. Our big teaching hospitals have the best medical experts in the country, the standard of expertise in these institutions is extremely high, and you have access to all that for no cost other than your National health contributions.

Not entirely free in the strictest sense of the word, no, but unbelievably good value for money by anyone's standards.

  spuds 11:31 04 Jan 2011

Talking about prices and costs of treatment, then I wonder why cataract surgery can be achieved for less than £100.00 in places like India. Cleft lip treatment similar. Dental and other health-care treatment can be far cheaper in some of our fellow European countries. But I do note, that some of the prices are rising due to the attitude of 'whats the going rate' and not the actual true cost of the service provided.

Perhaps a typical example is dentistry, when dentists were stating that they were subsidising the NHS, and then turning people away,and refusing to treat them, including those in a part commenced treatment situation, unless they went private. I do not know how other parts of the UK are, but in my location, a number of these 'must leave the NHS' dentists, are now advertising for NHS patients, because their private patients never transpired in great volumes. That seemed to be a short lived improvement success for some dentists.

There is no point in someone producing a fistful of statistics to suit the situation, when actual evidence of some failures are very apparent to those who use the services of the NHS on a regular and perhaps non-urgent basis.

Taking a point raised by one of our forum member 'rowdy'. From my own personal experiences, what he states is correct. The self book scheme is a total failure, and that scheme as let me down on at least three occasions. Some of the problems with that, is due to non-updating or providing information on the system.

With regards to physio, our local hospital made redundant a number of staff, then had to re-employ, because statistics failed. The using of the warm water hydro pools was another problem locally, and at one point, the authorities were talking about closure of this facility. In the time I used this facility, I found it far easier to pay £4.00 a session to a lady (patient) who had sub-contracted out the facilities in the evening (she had to provide a life guard as per condition of hire) on a non-profit making basis.

  Forum Editor 11:48 04 Jan 2011

can be achieved for less than £100.00 in places like India."

I would have thought that was obvious. A Postgraduate doctor working in a government hospital in India will be paid around £250 a month. A cataract surgeon may be lucky and get twice that. He or she will perform over a hundred cataract operations a month - work it out for yourself. In fact, a really good eye clinic in India will charge around £250 per eye, and for that you'll get superb treatment.

Anyone can bang on about cheap healthcare in other countries, but it's not the point - what we have is better than cheap, and it covers all of us, all of the time. If you want to go to India for a cataract operation that's fine - you're free to do so - but it will cost a lot more than the £100 you seem to think. Add in the air fares and hotel bill and it will eat into that £1600 you reckon we pay for the NHS each year.

  herrflick 12:35 04 Jan 2011

Re: NHS.

I have had lots of experiences of the NHS over the years and I have come to the realisation that the quality of the service is entirely dependent on where you live.

In recent years I moved to the 'burbs. No council housing within a 10 mile radius. The standard of care round here has been very good. A knee operation which I required for 15 years was only done after I moved out of what most people refer to as the 'schemes'.

Other incidents...

Fractured skull - after xrays, sent home with a bandage and asprin. Returned the next morning when I woke up blind from brain fluid leaking from my skull.

Brain aneurysm - my brother was sent home with pain killers and a leaflet on migraines. 5 hours later he collapsed at the wheel of his car due to bleeding in the brain. He required major surgery and 5 years later has still not recovered.

I'm not going to list any more but most of my family members who grew up with this hospital (I wont name it) as their local has their own horror stories.

I'm not saying the NHS is bad or good and I agree that we should be thankful for it. I just believe that the standard of service can be utterly painful for those in less affluent areas.

Neil (not a Socialist)

  spuds 17:02 04 Jan 2011

If we are basing arguments or discussions on 'obvious', then ask yourself why British industry is moving abroad in volumes, and why anything invented in this country is eventually funded elsewhere. The other argument is 'the going rate' we keep hearing all about, especially with supposed leaders of UK commerce. High wages, plus higher bonus's and extra perks do not bring a product or commodity price down, it can only increase it. Pure simple maths, I would have thought?.

Even the coalition government are now making proposals to cap wages in certain sectors. When a CEO or leader of a local council can get more in salary and allowances than a Prime Minister, then surely the 'obvious' is very evident that something is very wrong, and the NHS is no different?.

Another point perhaps worth considering. The banks were bailed-out, due to near collapse of many financial institutions. Yet how have the public been repaid. If media reports are correct, then quite a number of very large bonus payments have been made over the past month. Perhaps if the 'we will leave, and go overseas' brigade did that, then they would know what unemployment was all about?.

Your title of the thread, possibly sums it all up?.

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