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Old 01-25-10, 03:24 PM   #1
stapfam
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My knee problem and the NHS

Said I would come back on the knee problem and how long it takes to start treatment over here on the National Health Service.

Went to the quacks on the 15th Jan and he was going to arrange an appointment with a local hospital to see the Specialist. Got the appointment today for the 5th March- and it is this year.

so 46 days from seeing the quack to seeing the specialist. This will only be the first appointment and subject to what he thinks and suggests- it will be yet another appointment for the MRI or other tests.

I suppose the wait is not excsessive as most of the pain has gone but 7 weeks does seem a long wait for someone that would be in pain.

Don't know that would compare with your health system, but I know this will just be the start of a long period before any diagnosis or treatment is forthcoming. Lucky for me that we have the NHS and this will be free of charge but we do have heavier taxes to pay for it.

Bike riding is not affected so hopefully training for the first ride of the year will be able to get under way shortly. I just will not be tackling severe offroad for a while.
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Old 01-25-10, 03:40 PM   #2
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Might be slower, but you aren't looking at bankruptcy and loss of your life savings if you get critically ill, and age increases the probability of serious medical issues.

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Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
Said I would come back on the knee problem and how long it takes to start treatment over here on the National Health Service.

Went to the quacks on the 15th Jan and he was going to arrange an appointment with a local hospital to see the Specialist. Got the appointment today for the 5th March- and it is this year.

so 46 days from seeing the quack to seeing the specialist. This will only be the first appointment and subject to what he thinks and suggests- it will be yet another appointment for the MRI or other tests.

I suppose the wait is not excsessive as most of the pain has gone but 7 weeks does seem a long wait for someone that would be in pain.

Don't know that would compare with your health system, but I know this will just be the start of a long period before any diagnosis or treatment is forthcoming. Lucky for me that we have the NHS and this will be free of charge but we do have heavier taxes to pay for it.

Bike riding is not affected so hopefully training for the first ride of the year will be able to get under way shortly. I just will not be tackling severe offroad for a while.
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Old 01-25-10, 07:39 PM   #3
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In the beginning of July I had a rotator cuff tear. If there was an event associated with this tear I was out to lunch at the time. I wanted a particular orthopedic surgeon (who happens to do a lot of work on Olympic kids) and I had a choice: two or three months (geriatric memory at work) for him or one week for his physicians assistant (PA). I don't know if PAs exist in the UK. They are not doctors but in my experience seem to be well trained and can escalate to the real MD when necessary. (I don't mean "seem to be" in any pejorative sense. I am not an MD and my judgment is not based on real knowledge. As a youth I asked a buddy in med-school how to judge a doctor. He said that he would have to follow him around for a few days looking over his shoulder.) I was in pain and took the one week option. Had I needed surgery I don't believe that I would have waited long but don't really know. The most terrifying event in my life was the MRI as I am somewhat claustrophobic.
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Old 01-26-10, 08:53 AM   #4
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My wife had to wait six months to see, and get this, a dermatologist.
I have plantar faciatis(sp), the initial Dr visit for the referal was covered with a co-pay, and the visits to the specialist where covered with a co-pay. The thing that would help the most, orthodic shoe inserts, was not covered. The physical therapy, a temporary solution, was covered with the co-pay, for each visit. If it get so bad that I need surgery, thats covered. But the inserts would cost 10% of surgery, and prevent the need for the surgery.
I pay about a grand a month.
Want to switch systems ?
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Old 01-26-10, 09:37 AM   #5
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We aren't as bad as most citizens would say, and not as good as Michael Moore would say.
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Old 01-26-10, 09:51 AM   #6
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Although the UK system can have some delays associated with non urgent care you are safe in the knowledge that you at least have the same coverage as everyone else and if there are problems a lot of people will be griping to get it fixed.

I thought I had perfectly good coverage here in the US with an individual policy (I am self employed) which I had had for many years until one day I get a letter in the mail announcing that my health insurance company was terminating all individual policies and that in two months time I would have no health insurance (with them).
How do you like that!
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Old 01-26-10, 11:29 AM   #7
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Going onto "Serious" medical problems. Heart attack and I was in hospital straight away. They decided that I needed an Angiogram but I had to fight to get it done after the 7th day of waiting for it. Released from Hospital after the Angiogram and being told I needed a triple bypass. Weekly trips to see the Surgeon who just had a chat each time and I was told it could take up to a year to get it done.

I told him that if he got a Vacancy in the queue- all it would take is a phone call and I would be in his theatre in an hour. Clothes and the wife would follow on. 3 months after the initial heart attack I got a phone call on a sunday night telling me to be at the hospital next morning at 10am. Bypass done the next day-Tuesday- and released back home on the Friday.

And on the taxes- I pay about 10% of my taxable income as National Insurance. This covers the medical bills and State pension. but my employer also pays the same.
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Old 01-26-10, 01:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
Might be slower, but you aren't looking at bankruptcy and loss of your life savings if you get critically ill, and age increases the probability of serious medical issues.
At the risk of having this kicked to P&R, to which I have sworn to no longer frequent, I would prefer to be bankrupt and alive, rather than wealthy and dead.
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Old 01-26-10, 02:59 PM   #9
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I am having trouble with my left shoulder… 1 week to see my General Practitioner = $ 35 co-pay with insurance… Referred to Orthopedic specialist 2 weeks to see him, = $45 co-pay. Orthopedic specialist orders X rays and MRI 11/2 weeks = $ 756.00 out of pocket co-pay with insurance. Back to Orthopedic specialist 11/2 weeks = $ 45 co-pay.
Orthopedic specialist reads x rays , and MRI agrees that shoulder has problems, but doesn’t think surgery is necessary at this time, but likely in near future. Injects steroid in joint and says there you go. Total time= 6 weeks. Total cost out of pocket (if no surprise stuff comes in) = $ 881.00 without considering travel cost and time off work for appointments.
Just to find out my shoulder will need to have more work done on it again some time in the near future. We truly have the best Medical system that money can buy…

Ps.. that is all with what is now called "good" insurance...

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Old 01-26-10, 03:49 PM   #10
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IMHO The cost and complexity of our medical system owes a great deal to ambulance chasing shysters (I am not going to mention former presidential candidate J. Edwards) who have managed to make doctors first concern "Is my a$$ covered?".
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Old 01-26-10, 04:21 PM   #11
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I thought I had perfectly good coverage here in the US with an individual policy (I am self employed) which I had had for many years until one day I get a letter in the mail announcing that my health insurance company was terminating all individual policies and that in two months time I would have no health insurance (with them).!
I was under the impression, that this is what the US insurance companies did when you got a chronic illness. Having been a diabetic for >55 yrs, I am happy my ability to get a job was dependant on my technical skills, and not on the impact my health would have on employer's insurance premiums.

My daughter in the UK (also a type 1 diabetic) gets most of her health needs through NHS, but has been able to get speedier private service for some treatment through insurance from work. Her diabetic supplies are covered 100% by NHS, whereas I have to pay about 15%.
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Old 01-26-10, 05:13 PM   #12
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I do not know about the situation in the UK, nor that in the U.S., but I do know something about Canada, and our much-trumpeted (by professional myth-maker M. Moore and others) health care system.

Conditions do vary by province, but here in Ontario things are a complete mess. One example. My wife is a full-time RN, has been for 30+ years. Over the past 10 years or so, the deliberate short-staffing practices, along with other working condition issues, in the hospitals have permanently injured her (along with many, many other nurses roughly her age). As she puts it, "if we collapsed in the hall, they wouldn't even bother to code us". Thank god she only has a year to retirement.

Anyway, for about 10 years (to the summer 08) she was concerned about pain etc. in her neck, and tried off and on to get her gp/someone/anyone to investigate. Finally, after a series of denied tests, etc, a new gp agreed to refer her to a top oncologist quack in our city because, as he put, "you're a nurse; there's nothing wrong, but you won't believe me so I'll get so-and-so to tell you." Consult, tests, result: two thyroid tumours, both 2+cms, both cancerous. Could have been caught anywhere up to 10 years earlier. That's in the summer of 08; next step surgery, that didn't happen until June 09.

That went well (the treatment, when one can get it, is very, very good), BUT while her short-term result/prognosis is great, her long-term prognosis (5+ years) is severely prejudiced by the idiotic, stupid, not to say negligent refusal to take her seriously, or schedule tests due to "budgetary constraints" and quotas, prior to summer 08, and further by the additional time waiting for the surgery after finally being diagnosed correctly.

I 'spose there's some comfort in the fact that we all (save the usual exceptions, e.g. the wealthy, politicians, etc.) in this province are under the same conditions, but it doesn't really help much.

Just sayin'
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Old 01-26-10, 06:41 PM   #13
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Stapfam - I bet if you were one of the upper crust you would not want for medical attention in the UK, you might pay out of pocket but you would not want. On the flip side if you were on the bottom, maybe in the country illegally or in some trouble you would get nothing, not sure that is the case in the UK but would not doubt that there are folks living under bridges that really don't get treated. For us in the US we had it good for a long time, now things are equalizing as we have pissed away our economy and wealth and have become hopelessly in dept to the communist we swore to fight 60 years ago. Health care in the US works great if you have some company paying your insurance or you are wealthy, it sucks for every one else. This will not change with Obama care, it will only get more expensive and complicated with less access for the majority. Next thing you know you will need to get on a flight to Srilanka for a physical.

Sorry bout the knee gov'nr - we ain't got it better - we got it different.

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Old 01-26-10, 06:46 PM   #14
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I can usually see a specialist if I need to within days of the referral request or phone call for an appointment.

The only delays I have ever experienced come from trying to match mu schedule to my GP's schedule such that I can actually get into the office.

To be fair, this is a comment on my inability to clear my calendar and not so much the medical system.

I've never waited more than a few days for anything.
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Old 01-26-10, 06:58 PM   #15
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Point taken (perhaps not that you were making a point, TMB!); as I said, in Canada things vary wildly province to province. I was born/raised in B.C., didn't leave until '91 -- my experience there always paralleled TMB's, and I understand things remain pretty much the same. Not here (Ontario), though. Basic problem: (implicit in my earlier rant!) -- we have an ostensibly publicly-funded, not-for-profit healthcare system which has been destroyed by being run on a kind of hybridized bureaucratic/for-profit managerial model -- the worst of every possible world!
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Old 01-26-10, 07:59 PM   #16
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......... This will not change with Obama care, it will only get more expensive and complicated with less access for the majority.......
Well you sure seem to know more than the rest of the population since right now it is completely up in the air what "Obamacare" might be right now.
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Old 01-26-10, 08:13 PM   #17
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Well you sure seem to know more than the rest of the population since right now it is completely up in the air what "Obamacare" might be right now.
Do I know exactly what it will be - NFW.
I know trends and I am smart enough to see where those trends are taking us.
Would the Republicans do any better - No, the problem is deeper than either party.
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Old 01-27-10, 12:47 PM   #18
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Stapfam - I bet if you were one of the upper crust you would not want for medical attention in the UK, you might pay out of pocket but you would not want. On the flip side if you were on the bottom, maybe in the country illegally or in some trouble you would get nothing, not sure that is the case in the UK but would not doubt that there are folks living under bridges that really don't get treated.

Sorry bout the knee gov'nr - we ain't got it better - we got it different.
There is Private Health care if you have enough money- or pay the insurance and treatment will be quicker. Not always more efficient though as you would probably get the same Consultant and team as an NHS patient. You would just get it faster and have better food. And a Plastic Surgeon for the scars if surgery involved.

But the NHS is for everyone. We even have "Health Migrants" coming to the UK. Here on holiday with their 2nd cousin removed who is a UK resident- and even they get treated. Once spent 3 hours waiting for my consultant to see me as he had to deal with one of these- through an interpreter.
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