The British government published information about the return of thousands of patients who had been discharged from the hospitals as healthy people. The statistics over the last year shows a horrid situation, in which the medical services and the health of the British nation as a whole has worsened. Sick people were discharged from hospitals very early, their health being far from being perfect, and after they returned to their homes, their diseases progressed and the ambulances brought them back to the hospitals.
This is an ironic paradox, but there is a strong deficit of beds in British hospitals, like it was during the Soviet Union. The patients have to go home shortly after they are operated on: “you will recover at home,” so to speak.
There is the impression that the entire population of Great Britain is sick, since the statistics of medical visits and the capacity of the hospitals is very impressive. The healthcare machine is working really slow there.
The patients wait for an appointment with a doctor for four or even six months. After the appointment, the doctors send their patients for tests and X rays, another three months of waiting. After the results of the tests are known, an appointment is made again and then the wait for the operation: seven or eight months more. Therefore, the time from the first visit to the doctor and until the real treatment can cover a period of 18 months.
A physician told me during a recent visit(a physician is a doctor that is in the beginning of the long medical chain) that the doctors who send their patients for medical examination and tests have a right to put two marks on the form: either urgent, in case of cancer, or not urgent, in other cases. So, if you have a strong stomachache or if you tore your muscles, then the local physician has the right to mark your form as non-urgent, and you will wait for an ultrasonic examination or X-rays only for three months. Such a long period of time may turn a common indisposition into a severe disease.
The situation in the field of healthcare in Britain is so horrible, that the government assigns J300 million for the coming three years for the organization of additional beds in the hospitals.
However, the Healthcare Ministry believes that the difficult situation is even more aggravated by the hospital managers who do not treat their patients completely, chasing after the statistics of the medical visits. As Nigel Crisp, the supervisor of Healthcare Ministry claimed, the sick patients should stay at hospitals as long as it is necessary for their health.
So there is only one thing clear: huge paperwork, the growing capacity, and the medical personnel are leaving the healthcare system – all these things show that healthcare reform in Great Britain is vital.
Svetlana Tarasova PRAVDA.Ru London
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov