Wednesday, January 02, 2008

MVNHS©: Jumping the Shark

One of our favorite memes here at IB is consumer empowerment. Generally, we mean that folks should be more proactive in their healthcare choices, such as considering Health Savings Account plans, and speaking more frankly with their providers. We've never recommended that such empowerment should take the form of self-medication or diagnosis, because that would be stupid.
Alas, our cousins Across the Pond must have taken our crusade a bit too seriously:
M'kay (to quote my daughter).
The thing is, our approach is more subtle: make informed decisions, based on research and conversations with providers. Apparently, the Much Vaunted National Health System (MVNHS©) is facing a major shortage of cash...
As an aside: how come we never hear about these little problems from proponents of nationalized health care? Is it because they also know that such systems do nothing to rein in costs, but end up rationing -- and denying -- care?
...and is looking to cut a few corners:
"Instead of going to hospital or consulting a doctor, patients will be encouraged to carry out "self care" as the Department of Health (DoH) tries to meet Treasury targets to curb spending."
Now, in this instance, "self-care" doesn't mean such mundane activities as breast or prostate self-exams. Nor does it mean making sure to finish that antibiotic prescription even though you already "feel much better." No, it means that one must literally provide one's own health care. Thus, blokes suffering from chronic conditions will now be:
Monitoring their own heart activity, blood pressure and lung capacity
Administering their own drugs and other treatment to "manage pain"
(A)ssessing the significance of changes in their condition (!)
Of course, this is being sold as a "self-care agenda...increasing patient choice and "personalised" services." (emphasis added)
"Personalised" indeed.
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