Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Freedom, Liberty and the NHS

A WOMAN has been denied an operation on the NHS after paying for a private consultation to deal with her severe back pain.

Jenny Whitehead, a breast cancer survivor, paid £250 for an appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon after being told she would have to wait five months to see him on the NHS. He told her he would add her to his NHS waiting list for surgery.

She was barred from the list, however, and sent back to her GP. She must now find at least £10,000 for private surgery, or wait until the autumn for the NHS operation to remove a cyst on her spine.

“When I paid £250 to see the specialist privately I had no idea I would be sacrificing my right to surgery on the NHS. I feel victimised,” she said.

The case will reopen the debate over NHS policy towards patients who pay for some of their care privately. Following a Sunday Times campaign in 2008, the government ordered the NHS to stop withdrawing care from patients who received additional private treatment or drugs. Cancer sufferers were being barred from further NHS treatment after buying potentially life-saving medicines not offered by the health service.

Whitehead’s case, which has shocked her local Labour MP, reveals that patients who go private in despair at long waiting lists still risk jeopardising their NHS treatment. Department of Health officials admit it remains official policy.

Remember, socialized medicine/universal healthcare is not about providing or even obtaining superior medical attention - it's about maintaining the status quo and ensuring everyone is subjected to the same crappy service and care.

What is more chilling than the actual story, though, is the reader comments. Few seemed to be bothered by the insanity of this situation and the consensus was that a tweak here and a tweak there would ultimately solve the problem rather than entertaining the notion of scrapping the system entirely.

In fact, there was incredulity expressed that this woman would have the temerity to "get out of the queue" in order to see after her own health.

It's a crazy notion, we realize, but perhaps we could toss-about the idea that... everyone pays for their own healthcare.

The Brits have their NHS and now that they do have it, they are loathe to reverse course and do anything as radical as privatizing healthcare whereby individuals and individual decisions take precedence over "the system".

The reader comments reflect the deleterious effects of submitting these sort of decisions to an outside authority. Self-interest, the desire to seek the best possible care for one's own health, becomes secondary to a perverse ideal of equality and fairness whereby acting in one's best interest is seen as "selfish" and "gaming the system".

The more we think about it, the more we are convinced of the justice and true fairness of blowing up and completely destroying ObamaCare by any legal means.

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