Thursday, 2 October 2014

The National Health Service

Our nearest hospital is The Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, about twenty five miles away.   It is a known and trusted hospital and most people here would choose to go there.

Our nearest large hospital is The James Cook University Hospital in  Middlesbrough, about forty miles away.   It is a state of the art building, much more modern and much larger than The Friarage but not nearly so well-trusted by 'the locals'.  As an incomer I personally have no difficulty with James Cook, which is where I go for almost all of my treatment - and the farmer and I have got the journey worked out to a minimum.

Now they are closing parts of the Friarage Hospital and re-directing patients to Middlesbrough - mostly children and over night care in emergency.  Parents of young children are naturally worried that in an emergency their children have to travel an extra twenty miles in the middle of the night.

I was thinking about all this when our friends were over from The Netherlands.   In so many ways we are so very lucky with our National Health Service.   It has been going so long that we tend to take it for- granted.   Yes, there are huge flaws in it, but by and large we get good treatment and we don't have to worry about paying for it.   Our Dutch friends have to pay around £1200 each per year for their medical treatment. The cost of treatment in USA is even greater.

I think it is worth bearing this in mind  even though we could almost all of us tell a story about something that was badly organised, or went wrong.  I for one am jolly pleased I live in the UK. 


jinxxxygirl said...

Medical in US is just a mess. And i personally do not have the answers to fix it. Good , affordable healthcare should just be a given in any civilized nation...It shouldn't matter if your rich or poor...everyone should be treated equally. But then i guess i would be living in some type of Utopia then wouldn't i? Hugs! deb

Jan said...

I agree jinxxxygirl! It's been incredibly frustrating and expensive.

Heather said...

I am very thankful that we have the NHS to rely on and have received excellent treatment and care on the few occasions I have needed them. Funding cuts must make life very difficult for doctors and nurses but their dedication seems undiminished.

John Going Gently said...

Well said that woman

Sue in Suffolk said...

I'm just so glad we live here. I would like to see a way of stopping people who are drunk and have scratched their leg ( for example) going to A & E, and a way for people to get out of hours care in their local area.+ More nurses and doctors and the whole thing would be sorted!

angryparsnip said...

Health care in America is a joke and Obama Care has not made it any better. In fact worst.
Daughter, who works at below poverty level has Obama Care and had to wait 4 months for an appointment and her re-check only 2 months because she called her doctor everyday till she finally got one.
Be happy you live in the UK.

cheers, parsnip

Tom Stephenson said...

I haven't used the NHS since I was about 4, but I still think it is brilliant. I just wish they would clean a bit deeper, that's all.

Joanne Noragon said...

It's well to have what you have. I have very mixed feelings on our system. The trade off, of course, is income and taxes. You buy with tax dollars what we purchase from our incomes.
The problem is the vast, vast number of underemployed people here. Then I wonder, why are skilled jobs going begging. Why not make the effort to train into a skilled profession, machinist to CEO of the company. We also need to raise minimum wage. There is much to be done, by all.

Virginia said...

We live in New Zealand, where there is free hospital care and free GP visits for children - about to be increased up to 16 (I think). A lot of us also carry private medical insurance, as waiting lists for such procedures as hip replacements are long.

Although care is free, we are a tiny country (4 million) and spread out over a long landmass, so hospitals offering full care are getting fewer as services are consolidated around the main centres of population. We also have a central buying agency called Pharmac who purchase all medicines and make the tough decisions about what treatments are available. There are frequent outcries from people with rare (and often terminal) conditions because Pharmac will not find their 'best outcome' drug. It's a huge dilemma - one drug for one, or ten people, can cost as much as a better drug for thousands. Or, pharmacy changes to a cheaper supplier of a product - the test kits for diabetics was a case recently, and the cheaper version is not as accurate!

Medical services are only as good as the resources put into them!

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

God bless the NHS. I do wish the government would leave it alone! it IS the utopia you mention jinxxxygirl.
Some years ago an American friend was staying with us. She received a phone call saying her husband had been shot outside the cinema. Once she was assured that he was not fatally injured she began to worry how she would pay for his care. The birth of a son with a cleft palett(?) and some other issues and the extensive and intensive surgery had pretty much cleaned her out already.
Over the years my husband has had so much treatment and surgery and my only concern has been for his health, not the cost (I'm told that the last operation that he had would have cost £15,000 privately !

Cloudia said...

NOUN, British:
"A person who has come to live in an area in which they have not grown up, especially in a close-knit rural community." Ah!

Thank you sincerely for sharing this first hand information about health care which we as a nation, and I as a "no longer young" care deeply about. There is lots of misinformation about.

ALOHA from Honolulu
=^..^= . <3 . >< } } (°>

Jayview said...

In Australua we gave had a good Medicare system which provides health cover for all, as well as private health insurance funds for those who want their own choice of doctor, shorter waiting times for elective surgery, private rooms or extra services. However we currently have a conservative government that is cutting health services and trying to emulate the US system which seems to cause hardship for so many Americans. Jean

Cro Magnon said...

I've always had wonderful treatment in the UK, and I have wonderful treatment here too; but it costs me! Long live the NHS.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in the US is helping to equalize things - making it easier for everyone to get healthcare and it is based on income - if you can't afford the moderate premium, then the govt will step in and pay it for you. Sure, there are a few bugs in it - as in any new program - but 10.3 million more people have health insurance than before ACA - many who have never had health insurance in their lives. One of the problems is that there are now not enough doctors to treat everyone right away - causing some long delays - but one aspect of the ACA is that if a doctor in medical school will go into general practice instead of a specialty, their student loans are forgiven - a good incentive for general practitioners, which will help eliminate some of the wait.

But it is a better solution than not having affordable health care. We are making progress - finally.

The opposition to the president yell and scream about government provided health care for the masses and want to rescind it - but yet they have the best health care in the nation - and paid for by, you got it, the government. They should stop protesting health care for all the people, since they pay nothing for their government provided health care - the bullies - for they can be called nothing else, since they want to take away health care from children who need it -not to mention the adults that have been sick for years and need care and can't afford it.

We can do better - but we are at least taking steps. I say good for us and good for Obamacare.

Funny thing - they did a survey and asked thousands of people what they thought of the Affordable Care Act - and you'd be shocked at how many of the respondents said it was much better than Obamacare, which is just a slang derogatory name that bigoted opponents gave to the ACA. We dumb ourselves down and then complain because we are stupid. And so the world turns.

MorningAJ said...

I think sometimes people forget that we do pay for the National Health Service - just not at the point of delivery. My NI contributions are actually almost twice what your Dutch friends are paying.

The important difference between our service and other people's is that no insurance company can tell me I can't have treatment in the future for a pre-existing condition. I will be treated, whatever the circumstances.

I know it has failings, but I wouldn't swap the NHS for anything else.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for making these contributions, which are really interesting. AJ I do agree with you, I contributed such a lot too when I was working, but now I am retired i am reaping the benefits.