GPs Are Now Asking Patients to Consider Private Healthcare.
I am a strong advocate for the NHS. Personally, I’ve not used the NHS much. However, my brother and mother used to have severe asthma. Everyone would have their thumb over their phones ready to dial 911 at the first sign of an attack. I’m eternally grateful for all they have done for my family, and the support they showed when I was in that hospital for days at a time.
The budget cuts to the NHS have hit towns around England hard. Specialised units have been to shut down
, forcing people to travel to the next town over to get the help they need. I can not imagine what it is like when your town’s A&E unit closes down. A thing like that would make anyone worry, whether they have an existing medical condition or not.
Since they’re already closing hospital units, it shouldn’t surprise me that the NHS has launched a new controversial policy to ‘balance the books’. Patients will now be asked to consider private health care to help ease pressure on the NHS.
For the first time in the history of the health service, family doctors have been instructed to quiz the sick, elderly and vulnerable over whether they have a private health policy.
That’s not exactly a conversation I want have when I’m trying to figure what’s wrong with me.
It emerged today that health chiefs in Essex have given local GPs a “gentle reminder” to ask patients to consider using private health insurance if they have it in a bid to save the NHS money.
NHS Mid Essex CCG has seen a 6% increase in referrals to private healthcare since it wrote to practices asking them to discuss with patients how they can use private insurance.
I doubt this is very comfortable for the doctors. This is not America. We don’t have pharma companies dumping billions on doctors to have them deliver a well-practiced speech about their product. No, this is the English doctor scratching his head wondering why he wasn’t told about this part of the job description. 6% may seem like a small number, but it shows people frustration at the NHS.
And Dr David Wrigley, a GP and deputy chair of the BMA, which represents 150,000 doctors, blasted: “It is a sad state of affairs when GPs are asked by their CCGs to encourage patients to use private healthcare for their illnesses. Surely, with their own GP suggesting this, it will make patients think the NHS is not coping and lead to them seriously consider purchasing costly private health insurance.”
Just imagine it as if you went to watch a football game: Now, you do not directly pay for your seat but you have donated to the funds. A footballer comes up to you and says “Are you sure you don’t want to watch the other team across town play? It costs about £5000 extra a year. And, oh, you still need to carry on donating your funds here. You can still come here. But, just think about it… the seats are limited.” It is true that the seats are limited, but you’ve been waiting weeks to get in.
I understand the sentiment. They are struggling. But it is a vicious cycle: cuts are made, patients are neglected, patients seek private health care, and then more cuts are made.
It is not yet known if this program will be steamrolled over the rest of England. Yet, it seems that the NHS Mid Essex are the only ones doing the scheme right now.
I don’t see the situation improving, but I hope that it does. I love the NHS. If you would like to see some positive stories about the NHS, you should check out NHS Million. Sometimes when we hear all these bad stories, we forget that the NHS is still helping millions of people.