Friday, September 05, 2008

National Healthcare at work

The Northern Muckraker brought this one to me; a man suffering from excessive earwax in northern Ireland has been forced to call a good number of clinics to find one that is willing to clean out his ears--while, of course, he can hardly hear the voice on the telephone. The alternative was to be half-deaf for over three months while a specialist would look in his ear and say "aye, there's wax in there," or to pay about $300 for a private doctor to take a look, and more for the wax to be removed.

This is quite a damning indictment of socialized medicine, IMO, as it deals with what is supposed to be the strength of that system; rapid, affordable access to a general practicioner to basic procedures. Even with all of his work, he's going to wait a week to get his ears cleaned out.

Here, you'd generally get your ear cleaned out within hours by your family physician. Sometimes you get what you pay for, and this is a brilliant example of that fact.


Gabrielle Eden said...

Hilarious post! On the other hand, I shudder at the thought of the same kind of nationalized healthcare over here!

Shawn said...

...the sad thing, as far as I can see, is that retail health clinics (run by a nurse practitioner) are being poo-pood by doctors, because the NP's aren't qualified enough to be doing the things they are doing...and, of course "what if they misdiagnose something??"

I call it fear, ignorance, and rent-seeking, combined with a lack of knowledge of effective threat of lawsuit.

The sad part is that people listen to what doctors say about how health care "should" be "run" if doctors know a damn thing about the logistical and monetary side of their profession. We should be asking life-long receptionists for their opinion, as they know more about the payment process than the doctors do.

Knowledge vs. information.

pentamom said...

Shawn, I hadn't heard that doctors were part of the crowd against retail clinics (though I'm not all that surprised.) But it's pretty ironic that they make the argument that you're going to see CNPs instead of MDs, when that's what happens a lot of the time now, and the issue of misdiagnosis is just as real. While the CNPs are technically being supervised by MDs/DOs, in reality, the docs only do backup if the CNP feels the need. So how's that different from going to a clinic and having the CNP use judgment as to whether you should see a doctor? The clinic is still going to get paid for the CNP contact, even if he or she says, "Go see a doctor," so there's no incentive not to refer. Mystifying. I guess having someone with a higher level of training physically present in the same building, getting paid through the same system, really increases the level of medical care. I guess you have to go to med school to understand why that would be, because I sure don't.

Bike Bubba said...

As a dad who often talks with nurses before deciding to bring kids in to see the doctor, I concur with Pentamom here. The CNPs are doing a lot of the work at most medical clinics, and sometimes the involvement of a doctor seems purely optional.

Another friend of mine has worked in medical collections, and he notes that a lot of doctors are the worst businessmen you'll ever meet--more or less enduring all the pain of late payment fees without inflicting them on the insurance companies for whom "net 45" means "net 75".

Still better than NHS, though, I guess.