Friday, July 17, 2009

National Health Care

I am by far no expert on health care.

I do find it disturbing that we're about to institute national health care similar to Canada and the UK, which have serious problems, instead of trying to fix the system already in place.

The administration says it's all about giving health care to every American, including those who cannot afford it. That's great, but I thought that's what Medicaid and Medicare were for.

I gathered up some very recent articles on the Canadian and UK health care system. It's pretty interesting, and if you don't feel like reading the whole article, I've posted some snippets below.

Article on Canada's wait time from June 2009 (WTA = Wait Time Alliance):

"In this year's report, the WTA evaluated wait times in the priority areas and beyond and found that a majority of patients had wait times that exceeded the 18-week target used by the WTA.

'The study showed that for many of the medical specialities in Canada examined, we don't even come close to meeting that target,' said Bellan. 'There remains a great deal of unfinished business when it comes to addressing wait times in Canada.'"

The full article can be found here.

Here's an article on wait time in Wales from July 13th 2009. Keep in mind, 26 weeks is over six months. Targeted wait time is 14 weeks - that's still over 3 months:

"DOZENS of patients requiring hospital treatment outside Gwent are waiting longer than anticipated - and the delays are worrying health chiefs who are working towards ambitious new targets.

By the end of December, no-one in Wales should have to wait more than 26 weeks for treatment from the time they are referred on by their GP.

Within this 26-week period, known as the referral-to-treatment time (RTT), there are a series of what are called component waits, for the likes of first outpatient appointments, diagnostic tests, alternatives to treatment such as physiotherapy, and treatment itself.

The target component wait for treatment is 14 weeks, and the latest available figures - for the end of May - show that 127 Gwent patients had waited longer than this."

The full article can be found here.

Wait times are getting better in the UK, due to the NHS instituting target time frames. Unfortunately, this has created another serious issue. This article is from the Times Online (London), from June 9th, 2009:

“Waiting time targets in the NHS are hampering efforts to reduce “superbug” infections such as MRSA, doctors’ leaders have claimed.

Patients are being placed on dirty beds to help hospitals meet the requirement to start treatment within four hours of admission.

Today the British Medical Association (BMA) called on the Government to allow more flexibility in the target to ensure there is enough time to clean equipment.

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman, said: 'This report provides further evidence that the Government's obsession with targets is putting patient safety at risk.'

'Ministers need to stop micromanaging the NHS and trust doctors and nurses to decide the best way to care for their patients.'”

The full article can be found here.

From a more local perspective, Matt Best at has some excellent questions here.

And finally, a Steven Crowder mini-documentary on navigating the Canadian health care system.