Curious about the health system in the UK...

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by meowchowchow, Oct 30, 2005.

  1. meowchowchow

    meowchowchow New Member

    Hi all you UK people - just wondering about your health system and how if differs from the U.S. Can you tell me?

    Thanks,
    Meow
  2. maripat

    maripat New Member

    Hi I would also be interested in knowing this. Also how does it work in Canada.
    maripat
  3. bubblesgirl

    bubblesgirl New Member

    In the UK we are given a National Health Service number unique to each individual on registration of birth.

    Up until recently this entitled an individual to free medical, dental, eye examinations and some subsidised treatment in each category.

    For the under 16's and over 65's treatment,medication and examinations are free.

    There has been some changes and more people are expected to pay for eye and dental treatment, (unless you are in receipt of certain state benefits and are pregnant).

    Each person is registered with a Dr in the area in which they live. This entitles them to meet with their Dr as the need arises. (This is a free consultation without restriction regardless of how many times they need to visit). If the Dr prescribes medication, there is a cost attached and each medication prescribed has to be paid for.
    At present the cost is roughly £7 (12.5 dollars) each.

    If the Dr decides that his patient needs to see a consultant he will send a referral to the local hospital depending on the urgency, depends how quickly a patient is seen. If the consultant determines that hospital treatment is needed a referall will be made to the various depts.Again there is usually a wait. If a hospital bed is required an administrator will book the bed and again the patient will need to wait. It is not unusual to be asked to stand down at the last minute because an emergency with another patient has arisen. The cost of a hospital bed can vary but is on average about £400 a day or 710 dollars.
    Plus the cost of the treatment.
    This is paid for by the National Insurance that each working person pays. This is complulsory and taken out of each person's salary at source. The price you pay varies according to how much you earn. So although the treatment is free at access, each person pays a contribution. It doesn't matter how many times you need treatment you still pay the same. So for a healthy person who hardly ever uses the system it's basically tough luck.

    We also have access to a hospital direct for emergencies and that is free.

    If a person is involved in an accident and needs an ambulance it is free at access, but if its a road traffic accident etc. the bill is sent to the insurance compnay. The person who is found to have been the cause pays and their insurance premimum goes up accordingly.

    We also have a private health insurance and many large companies may pay for their employees to get fast track treatment. Obviously there are benefits to this in that the employer gets someone back to work faster and less time is spent off sick.
    Also individuals have the choice whether they wish to purchase a private health plan for the same reasons.

    Do I believe in the system? overall it works really well for the majority of people. As ever ther are bad experiences and they make the headlines.There is no perfect system and I don't think the people in the UK would really settle for anything different.

    It used to be hailed as the best in the world, but hey isn't everyone's?

    Sorry this is lengthy, but hope it helps, and for anyone who wishes to challenge what I have said this is my own opinion and only what I know. I believe the information to be correct, but happy to be told otherwise.
    Sandy
  4. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    our National Health System isnt exactly FREE.

    Everyone who works pays National Insurance and this money is used to cover everyone in the country for their medical care.

    Our system is pretty awful now. If you need an op, you wait months unless it's an emergenyc. I waited 9 months for a gallbladder op and by that time it was fused onto my liver and required an op that took twice the normal time.

    I am waiting on a sleep study, the waiting list is 1 YEAR.

    Blood tests, it takes 2 - 3 weeks to get results.

    Our system is failing people with CFS/Fibro terribly. People are being made to attend cognitive behaviour therapy, a therapy that does more harm than good.

    Personally I think a system that combines the best of the States and the UK would be ideal - everyone gets treated the same but they get treated QUICKLY.

    love Rosie
  5. KelB

    KelB New Member

    Hi Rpsie.

    Just wanted to comment on your note that CBT harms.

    I had an 8 week CBT course at a hospital near me, and I genuinely believe that it has given me coping skills that help me live with CFS better. It was never presented as a "cure", just as a way of managing to live with the illness. Since the course ended I've managed to go back to work part time and I've also pretty much done away with unexplained crashes - I can now do certain activities that I KNOW will cause a crash, but at least it's my decision and no longer a mystery!

    I certainly agree that if CBT is given by the wrong person (doesn't belive in CFS or clings to The Wessley Theory) then it can be very damaging. Luckily, the OTs delivering my course seemed to rubbish most of the prevailing NHS approaches e.g. Graded Exercise was absolutely out of the question.

    It's so sad that this common sense approach isn't more...er... common!
  6. lbok

    lbok New Member

    Mandating therapy sounds like an infringement on your personal freedom. It's ok I guess if they offer it - but to force you to go to get benefits sounds like something negative. What if a person had an objection to CBT - can they opt out of it?

  7. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    Kel, you seem to have been very lucky with your OT's and their approach to CBT and I'm glad it's worked for you.

    I was really talking about the Wessley school and the intention of 'mandated therapy' like Ibok referred to.

    If you type CBT in the search part, you will find lots of references and actual reports on this.

    love
    Rosie
    [This Message was Edited on 10/31/2005]
  8. tansy

    tansy New Member

    it is the psychologisers who are influencing national policies in terms of health care and state funded provisions.

    KelB was fortunate to be referred to a centre that recognises CBT purely as a means of disease management, a Tx which incidentally many UK GPs believe should be offered in a primary care setting. However the Wessely School are promoting it as curative and/or returning PWME/CFS to the workforce so they can contribute to society rather than scrounging from the state.

    Even worse are the graded aerobic exercise programmes, which have already made many worse on a long-term basis, yet patients are made to feel they have no choice but to comply. When patients become more ill and experience more pain they are told they have to work through it in order to recover. That's when things go very badly wrong. This GET programme is based on the WS’s insistence deconditioning is the cause of chronic fatigue with vague aches and pains.

    If CBT and GET fail it is of course blamed on the patient. The Wessely School’s aim is to make these rehabilitation programmes mandatory; they have strong connections with the Insurance industry, including UNUM, who want to avoid paying out to ME/CFS claimants.

    The UK Govt have set out to dramatically reduce the numbers receiving sickness and disability allowances; PWME, CFS, FM, OPP, GSW/I, MCS, back pain etc, have all been targeted. The Wessely School have provided our Govt with the perfect solution. The WS ignore any biomedical research that contradicts their hypotheses. The official guidelines on ME and CFS for health care and allowances reflect the Wessely’s School’s stance on ME/CFS and the other illnesses they insist are merely functional somatic disorders.

    Just as seriously national guidelines insist patients do not need more than a few basic tests or investigations; non-ME/CFS health issues are often ignored. So despite a state funded health care system PWME/CFS are frequently denied essential or beneficial Tx whether it be for ME/CFS related health issues or not.

    Tansy
  9. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member