Health

Healthcare provision is the topic for 365 Days of Writing Prompts.

In the UK we are very fortunate that reforms in the past have led to the formation of the National Health Service, which delivers health care for everyone.  It is paid for by a form of taxation, but the public’s expectations of what it can and should provide are very different today than at the outset.

Originally it was intended to provide access to doctors and hospital services.  The number of drugs available to treat medical conditions and the number of procedures (known as operations) were much smaller.  There have been wonderful advances in medical science.  Lasers, miniature cameras and ultrasound are just a few of the technological advances which have helped in the diagnosis and treatment of all sorts of conditions.  Not to mention transplant surgery and replacement joints.

Everyone expects that if it can be done, it will be done and probably on the NHS.

It is true that there are other options.  There are private hospitals, which are accessible to those with appropriate health insurance.  It is possible to pay for private treatment in private or even in NHS hospitals in some places.  The advantages of private medicine, as it is known, are that appointments for surgery are less likely to be cancelled at short notice.  (This is because private hospitals do not have Accident and Emergency departments.)   Patients normally have a private room, allowing for flexible visiting hours.  The staff-to-patient ratio is usually higher than in NHS hospitals.

I am sure that those responsible for considering how to change the health care provision in the USA are looking at how Britain manages.

It is interesting that hospitals were originally part of religious establishments such as monasteries and nunneries.  The apostles recommended that those who were sick send for the leaders of the Church to pray for them.  I have been taught that we should both consult doctors and pray.  There are reports of healing miracles.  Surveys of patients have found that those being prayed for recover better than those who are not supported by praying friends (or even strangers).  However, not everyone who is prayed for (and treated with the best available cures) recovers.  Several of my friends have died well before their three score years and ten.  I believe that they had done everything God required of them.  However, they are missed by those left behind.

The question is: how much should the state be expected to provide?  Are there any treatments, which have to be ruled out of the NHS, because of costs?

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