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More NHS news
Posted by: McQ on Monday, October 29, 2007

The term "health tourist" is catching on in the UK:
Record numbers of Britons are travelling abroad for medical treatment to escape the NHS - with 70,000 patients expected to fly out this year.

And by the end of the decade 200,000 "health tourists" will fly as far as Malaysa and South Africa for major surgery to avoid long waiting lists and the rising threat of superbugs, according to a new report.

The first survey of Britons opting for treatment overseas shows that fears of hospital infections and frustration of often waiting months for operations are fuelling the increasing trend.

Patients needing major heart surgery, hip operations and cataracts are using the internet to book operations to be carried out thousands of miles away.
The British government's reaction?
A Department of Health official said the number of patients seeking treatment abroad was a tiny fraction of the 13 million treated on the NHS each year.

Waiting times had fallen. Almost half of patients were treated within 18 weeks of seeing a GP. Most people who had hospital care did not contract infections.
Heh ... my guess is that tiny fraction has helped bring those waiting times down to 3.5 months and I'm sure they're very reassured that "most" people treated didn't contract infections. More NHS woes here.
 
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Comments
If they haven’t already, the British government will likely begin to figure in an increasing number of travellers into their funding of the program. Perhaps they can get to the point in which most Brits are receiving health care elsewhere and they don’t have any waiting times at all. Lovely system.
 
Written By: the wolf
URL: http://
This reminds me of a comedy skit, but I can’t place it...

But I love it. "Almost no one gets superbugs! Ain’t we great?"
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Almost half of patients were treated within 18 weeks of seeing a GP
Well, that’s something to be proud of....
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Almost half. In-freaking-credible.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Is it ? How many US patients are treated within 18 weeks of seeing a family doctor ? How many dont see a doctor at all...because they can’t afford one ?

I bet you have no idea.

What is the incidence of the superbug in US hospitals ? Is it even possible to get truthful stats from them ?
 
Written By: Blewyn
URL: http://
Is it ? How many US patients are treated within 18 weeks of seeing a family doctor ? How many dont see a doctor at all...because they can’t afford one ?
The vast majority. None.

Any other questions?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Is it ? How many US patients are treated within 18 weeks of seeing a family doctor ? How many dont see a doctor at all...because they can’t afford one ?
You do realize that 18 weeks is more than 4 months, right? I’ve never had to wait more than a few days to see my family doctor, and never more than a few weeks for a specialist. When I lived in Los Angeles, I could see a specialist in less than a week; in a smaller town, specialists are less common and the wait is a bit longer. But 4 months to see a GP? That’s outrageous, and you should know it.

In the US, anyone can walk into an ER and get treatment, even if they can’t afford to pay. So, if someone isn’t going to a doctor, it’s is own fault.

 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
How many US patients are treated within 18 weeks of seeing a family doctor ?
I don’t recall anyone I know waiting 18 weeks for any medical treatment.
How many dont see a doctor at all...because they can’t afford one ?
I’ve had family and friends who couldn’t aford to pay, yet they received treatment. In most cases they received government aid, in some cases charity.

I don’t know anyone who had to forgo treatment.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
My uninsured sister is currently seeing a couple of specialists to diagnose severe body pain that radiates from basicly every muscle, plus abdominal pains.

In the last 6 weeks she’s spent at least 2 weeks (likely closer to three) admitted.

After some tests early this week, and their results, my father is bringing her to central IL to be admitted locally, if only because we have more specialists and it’s closer (she’s currently in NC).

She is currently unemployed, and most definately can’t afford the treatment and care she’s getting.

But yet she’s still getting it.

Funny, that.

Oh, and she’s 25. Maybe I should push for SCHIP. You think Erb would enjoy paying for her medical care?
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
How about a link to that story?

 
Written By: jfw1961
URL: http://
You do realize that 18 weeks is more than 4 months, right? I’ve never had to wait more than a few days to see my family doctor, and never more than a few weeks for a specialist. When I lived in Los Angeles, I could see a specialist in less than a week; in a smaller town, specialists are less common and the wait is a bit longer. But 4 months to see a GP? That’s outrageous, and you should know it.
I too have never waited more than a few days to see a doctor on the NHS. If you read the original statement properly, you will see that it refers to almost half of all patients treated within 18 weeks, not observed or diagnosed - treated.

I put it to you that there are so many difference between the NHS - a system designed for maximum effiency and treatment according to clinical need - and the US system - designed to maximise revenue and profit, that any statistical comparison has to factor in their different goals. Are you comparing profitability, the availability of rapid treatment for cherry-picked high-cost low-success treatments for desperate rich people, the impact of the industry on the health of the nation as a whole, the cost per head of standard treatments such as an appendectomy ? But of course you guys are old hands at this kind of anecdotal nonsense, and care only about the availability of treatment for those that can pay, and the profitability of the industry. We in the UK have made a different choice, and I challenge you to compare the health of our respective nations.
 
Written By: Blewyn
URL: http://
I too have never waited more than a few days to see a doctor on the NHS.
Congratulations and a reminder - we’re not the one’s reporting the time lag, the NHS is. So take it up with them.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
designed to maximise revenue and profit, that any statistical comparison has to factor in their different goals
You seem to forget innovation here Blewyn. Now I’m not saying that your system doesn’t have some innovation, but does it maximise the opportunity to innovate. I’m glad you like your system. But I like ours, for all its flaws, better.

BTW, two step daughters in their late 20’s, both with a daughters under ten, and never had insurance. Never denied any medical care either, always within hours of showing up.
 
Written By: tonto
URL: http://
I too have never waited more than a few days to see a doctor on the NHS. If you read the original statement properly, you will see that it refers to almost half of all patients treated within 18 weeks, not observed or diagnosed - treated.
Now you’re splitting hairs. When I see my doctor, I get treated. If there’s something wrong with me that my GP can’t handle, I’m treated at a hospital right away or referred to a specialist within a week or so.

The fact that the median wait for treatment in the UK is 18 weeks should outrage you. Apparently, you think this is just fine.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
The fact that the median wait for treatment in the UK is 18 weeks should outrage you. Apparently, you think this is just fine.
He doesn’t seem to understand that for every person like him who is seen within days, there’s someone who waits almost 36 weeks (If the average is 18, and he is less than one, than nearly double the average is need to balance it out).

I’d love to see the NHS’s statistical analysis of this, though. I would find the numbers fascinating.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
You seem to forget innovation here Blewyn. Now I’m not saying that your system doesn’t have some innovation, but does it maximise the opportunity to innovate.
For a start I’d say a health system’s primary purpose was to have the maximum impact on the nation’s health, balanced against advancement. If Bill Gates developed a unique disease tomorrow and the US ceased all other research for a year to concentrate on saving him, then you could say the US health industry had innovated considerably. Is that what it is for ?

The NHS (the largest employer in the UK) spend vast amounts on medical research, both independently and in cooperation with the academic and private sectors. The results are used to develop effective treatments to be made available to all, within budgetary limits. Those of independent means can also receive treatments not covered by the NHS budget. The NHS medical researchers have no commercial incentive to compete or hide developments from each other. They are incentivised to develop cures, not treatments (unlike their private sector counterparts - you can only sell cures once, but you can sell treatments forever).

How about you back up your implication about innovation with some comparison stats ? How many new cures or life-changing treatments have our respective systems developed over the last 10 years ?
 
Written By: Blewyn
URL: http://
Now you’re splitting hairs. When I see my doctor, I get treated. If there’s something wrong with me that my GP can’t handle, I’m treated at a hospital right away or referred to a specialist within a week or so.
That’s not treated, that’s treating. The 18 weeks median means treated, ie consulted, observed, tested, diagnosed, treated, done & dusted.
The fact that the median wait for treatment in the UK is 18 weeks should outrage you. Apparently, you think this is just fine.
I have no idea whether it’s fine or not, because I have no idea how it compares to systems in other countries, what differences there may be in the challenges they face, or the range of treatments they offer and how many patients per head of medical staff they manage to treat per year etc etc etc What I DO know is that the profession in the UK is incentivised to cure people as effectively as possible, while the system in the US is incentivised to treat people as profitably as possible.

$60,000 for sewing on a thumb ? The face on you people !
 
Written By: Blewyn
URL: http://
That’s not treated, that’s treating. The 18 weeks median means treated, ie consulted, observed, tested, diagnosed, treated, done & dusted.
You really are a putz, you know that? Show me in the article where the 18 week median means what you say it means. By the way, I’ve never had a treatment that lasted longer than two weeks.
For a start I’d say a health system’s primary purpose was to have the maximum impact on the nation’s health, balanced against advancement.
Innovation in diagnostic tools, new treatments, etc, all have a huge impact on the nation’s health. If you don’t recognize that, there’s no point in arguing further.
If Bill Gates developed a unique disease tomorrow and the US ceased all other research for a year to concentrate on saving him, then you could say the US health industry had innovated considerably. Is that what it is for ?
Strawman. First, Gates isn’t a biologist in any form, and he’s no more capable of creating a unique disease than you are. Second, the US wouldn’t cease all other research for a year. It just wouldn’t. And to suppose it would is sheer idiocy.
I have no idea whether it’s fine or not, because I have no idea how it compares to systems in other countries,
In the US, it’s considered outrageous. But you’re trying to defend it by claiming things that do not represent reality.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
That’s not treated, that’s treating. The 18 weeks median means treated, ie consulted, observed, tested, diagnosed, treated, done & dusted.
You really are a putz, you know that? Show me in the article where the 18 week median means what you say it means. By the way, I’ve never had a treatment that lasted longer than two weeks.
Er..that’s what treated means mate. I can’t make it any simpler. Pardon me but it was you who was trying to completely misrepresent the facts by asserting that it was an 18-week median for a consultation.
For a start I’d say a health system’s primary purpose was to have the maximum impact on the nation’s health, balanced against advancement.
Innovation in diagnostic tools, new treatments, etc, all have a huge impact on the nation’s health. If you don’t recognize that, there’s no point in arguing further.
...except I just did, when I wrote "balanced against advancement". You really must read more carefully.
If Bill Gates developed a unique disease tomorrow and the US ceased all other research for a year to concentrate on saving him, then you could say the US health industry had innovated considerably. Is that what it is for ?
Strawman. First, Gates isn’t a biologist in any form, and he’s no more capable of creating a unique disease than you are. Second, the US wouldn’t cease all other research for a year. It just wouldn’t. And to suppose it would is sheer idiocy.
Why wouldn’t it ? I mean, if it did, and cured the disease, that would be a major advancement, no ?

Or are you admitting that given a finite budget, advancement has to be balanced against treatment ?

Or are you just gonna stick you fingers in your ears and say nah-nah-nah it wouldn’t happen anyway.....?
I have no idea whether it’s fine or not, because I have no idea how it compares to systems in other countries,

In the US, it’s considered outrageous. But you’re trying to defend it by claiming things that do not represent reality.
Neither you nor I know "reality" in this matter. The difference between us is that I admit it, whereas you cling desperately to your belief that the feeling of control that you enjoy by being able to buy rapid treatment actually means you are receiving better treatment. The health stats of the UK vs US say otherwise. You guys have more cancer, more obesity, more heart attacks, and live shorter lives. And this with a health system considerably more expensive than anywhere else in the world.

Besides, people can get private treatment in the UK as well. It’s just that for the most part, we don’t need to.
 
Written By: Blewyn
URL: http://

 
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