We always hear the glory of socialized medicine and we have a lot of people working very hard to convince us that the US system is backwards. Oh, certainly I have my criticisms about the US medical care system but but when you hear things like this we all ought to think long and hard before we begin jumping to conclusions:
Cataracts, hips, knees and tonsils: NHS begins rationing operations
Almost two-thirds of trusts affected as cuts bite
Hip replacements, cataract surgery and tonsil removal are among operations now being rationed in a bid to save the NHS money.
Two-thirds of health trusts in England are rationing treatments for “non-urgent” conditions as part of the drive to reduce costs in the NHS by £20bn over the next four years. One in three primary-care trusts (PCTs) has expanded the list of procedures it will restrict funding to in the past 12 months.
Examples of the rationing now being used include:
* Hip and knee replacements only being allowed where patients are in severe pain. Overweight patients will be made to lose weight before being considered for an operation.
* Cataract operations being withheld from patients until their sight problems “substantially” affect their ability to work.
* Patients with varicose veins only being operated on if they are suffering “chronic continuous pain”, ulceration or bleeding.
* Tonsillectomy (removing tonsils) only to be carried out in children if they have had seven bouts of tonsillitis in the previous year.
* Grommets to improve hearing in children only being inserted in “exceptional circumstances” and after monitoring for six months.
* Funding has also been cut in some areas for IVF treatment on the NHS.
The alarming figures emerged from a survey of 111 PCTs by the health-service magazine GP, using the Freedom of Information Act.
Rationing is the natural conclusion of any service like this. Only so much can go around and we always have to consider the fact that we cannot allow it to continuously circle.
It seems that there will never be unlimited awesomeness for everyone no matter what system that we choose.