The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #122219   Message #2679707
Posted By: Ruth Archer
14-Jul-09 - 03:47 AM
Thread Name: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
People complain about things like waiting lists on the NHS. I had to have my gall bladder out almost 10 years ago, and I did wait a fair time for my operation and had it postponed twice, but to be honest it was not a life-threatening condition, and while I suffered discomfort whenever there was an "attack", it was not really the end of the world.

As I have found out over the past year, though - the minute the NHS suspects you have cancer, good lord, the care is good. As it happens, my mother was recently treated for cancer in America, so I could compare our two experiences quite easily. She has worked for about 20 years in local government, so her benefits package is, I assume, a good one.

What I found is that, while I was fast-tracked into the local breast clinic the moment my GP suspected cancer, and was able to have all of my tests done at one time, in one place, and had all of the results back quite quickly, my mother had to go to different places for each of her tests, with some of the results taking several weeks to be returned. Both the speed and the continuity of care were fantastic in my case - the same doctor I saw on my first visit was the one who performed my operation. My mother saw many different people over a period of several weeks. This makes a big difference: I found that, when you are feeling quite vulnerable, knowing your surgeon and support staff is extremely helpful - you develop a relationship of trust with them. If there's anything you are unsure about or any questions about your care, you have no hesitation in ringing them. I was able to have all of my treatment in the little hospital in my local town, rather than having to go to some big hospital in a nearby city (that option was offered to me, but I preferred being in a familiar environment where I knew people).

To sum up, my impression was that the care I received under the nationalised system was much more holistic and "joined-up" than the care my mother recieved privately in America - I guess this is a feature of how the two different systems work. It was also a LOT faster, even though my mother's condition was far more serious than mine. I also got the impression that the NHS was a lot more personal, with the opportunity to get to know the people who will be looking after you right the way through.

I should add that my tumour turned out not to be cancer, but it was a feature of another condition which has a high rate of recurrence, so I remain under the care of the same team who originally treated me. There is something very reassuring in this.