Monday, March 29, 2010

A State of Health

We may not have the best healthcare system in the world here in the UK, but we do have one that doesn't discriminate between rich and poor...unless you choose to go private and get treated quicker by the same doctors and nurses as NHS patients.

So, is socialised healthcare a good thing?

It certainly works in Cuba.

It kind of works in the UK, once you can actually get your GP to refer you to hospital.

Last week I attended an emergency appointment at hospital, made by my GP - or his receptionist - which I had only six weeks to wait for. I was given a list of hospitals to choose from - as I am entitled - and chose the only one that was on the list.

Thankfully, the gastroscopy revealed nothing sinister inside my oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. But they took biopsies none the less. Just to make sure.

The consultant asked me my symptoms, which I've had for around a year, and was astounded that I'd only just made it to hospital after all that time.

Unfortunately, it would seem I had been sent for the wrong kind of test given my symptoms.

So, now the consultant is to write to my GP, suggesting I get some bloodwork done to see if I have gallstones. This will take around two weeks.

And in the event that the blood tests point to gallstones, I will only have to wait between four to six weeks before getting an ultra-sound, and then a further two to three weeks for surgery.

Those times might seem like a long time to some readers but my symptoms would not seem to be life threatening - at this stage - and given that the treatment is free - well, if you exclude income tax and statutory National Insurance payments - I'm quite happy to wait and keep what little money I have in my pocket.

I'll probably need it for prescriptions.