Thursday, December 14, 2017

Rationing Health Care in Great Britain

One recalls the evening of November 8, 2016 when famed prognosticator Paul Krugman assured us that the stock market, which had reacted to the Trump election victory by falling precipitously, would never recover.

Being a Nobel prize-winning economist means never having to admit you are wrong.

I probably do not need to remind you that the same Krugman assured us, during the Obamacare debate in 2010 that we should all adopt the British National Health Service model… and that the horror stories about it were all lies.

Well, here we go again. The Times of London reports that the head of Britain’s NHS has announced that there will be more rationing of health care and further delays before receiving non-emergency surgery. In fact, physicians will refuse to treat many conditions that they consider minor… like indigestion. Apparently, funds are so tight that the NHS bureaucrats failed to notice that sometimes indigestion can be a sign of something worse. And, it will no longer treat hearing loss… which again can signal something worse. And the NHS will no longer treat coughs… which, but I do not want to keep repeating myself.

The Times reports:

The health service will curb treatment for conditions such as hearing loss and dementia after its head set out the first explicit limits on what patients should expect.
Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, effectively ripped up waiting-time targets for routine surgery, rebuffing demands from ministers as he said that cancer, mental health and GP care should take priority.

Patients were told to stop expecting the NHS to treat coughs, indigestion and other minor conditions, with GPs encouraged to send people away without prescriptions for medicines they could buy over the counter.

If you are British and have a sore throat, you are on your own. And if it’s strep… then what?

As for non-urgent surgery, you’re pretty much out of luck:

The goal of treating 92 per cent of patients waiting for non-urgent surgery within 18 weeks has not been met for more than a year and internal NHS calculations suggest that it will cost £2.5 billion to clear waiting lists. Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said there were “serious questions about the legality of effectively abandoning a standard of care enshrined in the NHS constitution”.

For your edification, here’s the list of ailments that will no longer be treated by the NHS:

Aches and sprains such as headaches and period pains
Cold sores
Colic in babies
Coughs, colds and blocked noses
Insect bites
Mild acne
Mild to moderate hay fever
Mouth ulcers
Sore throat
Travel sickness
Warts and verrucas

You do not need to be a physician to find this concerning. No longer treat insect bites… have they ever heard about Lyme disease?


trigger warning said...

These edicts are likely coming from NICE (National Institute for Health Care Excellence). It's worth recalling that NICE QALY (Quality Adjusted Life Year) guidelines, followed strictly, would have likely meant the death of Stephen Hawking, had his care not been privately subsidized before his rise to global fame.

Note that before there was NICE, there was N.I.C.E., coincidentally/prophetically (as you like) a fictional organization in C.S. Lewis' dystopian novel, That Hideous Strength. Its a novel worth reading, certainly more deserving of your time than Krugman's agitprop NYT columns.

Sam L. said...

Ah, Paullie "The Beard" Krugman: A man who's wrong half the time because he'll change his mind and write something counter to something he wrote earlier.

Anonymous said...

Euros, Canada, Japan - rationed health care since inception. That's why they spend Half what US does.

Afflicted infants & children - pray, let them pass, have others. MRI's, other pricy treatments - forget them.

Smoke? Drink? Drugs? Obese? Don't exercise? Over 50? Lower class? No soup for you! Die in pain, ASAP.

It's simple Cost-Benefit Analysis. We'll get there. We can't afford Not To.

Plus, we spend 50% on the last year of life. My Mother's last year was awful. Dreadful. Macabre.

Exceptions exist. For Elites and/or Wealthy.

But, as Churchill said re: Atlantic Ship Losses - we won't survive at this rate. That's my 2 cents. - Rich Lara

Concern said...

Not being completely across the UK system... These conditions that NHS will turn people away for. Is this just from public hospitals and emergency wards, or are they actually telling GPs to not treat these conditions either?

James said...

It reminds me of the past. In pre modern medical times if you got sick and were too poor to afford a doctor, you died. If you were rich, you hired a doctor and he killed you.