Encountering Problems in Healthcare

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Welcome to the fifth day of the National Health Blog Post Month Challenge hosted by WEGO Health.   Every day during the month of November I will be writing a new blog post related to health and living with a chronic illness based on given prompts provided by WEGO Health

Today’s prompt reads:

Election day! Votes are in – you won!  If you got elected as President (or Prime Minister, for those living in the UK!), what are the three changes you would make to healthcare?

In the UK, in my opinion we are very fortunate to be provided with a National Health Service; free medical care for every person living in the UK.  There are many positive aspects with the NHS such as the many dedicated staff that work in hospitals and GP surgeries.  However, the NHS is not without its flaws and although I have received many positive experiences using NHS services, I have also sadly experienced negative experiences and seen first-hand how changes could improve the NHS.

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An example, of how frustrating being a patient in the NHS is the unfortunate waiting times for appointments.  The waiting time just to make an appointment with a GP is extraordinary – at my surgery, it is not unusual to wait approximately two weeks to have a non-urgent (or regular) appointment with the doctor.  For hospital consultations it can be approximately a 3 month waiting list.  For a patient living with a chronic illness, like myself it can be a very long wait as we struggle with a flare of the symptoms we live with.  There are approximately 15 million people in the UK suffering with a long-term health condition alone, and after talking on Twitter with other patients, there are many people who have to wait more than a couple of days for a GP appointment.  If the flare is very bad, however, many are then forced to attend Accident and Emergency to get help after failing to get an appointment with their GP.  This obviously increases the NHS load within A and E departments; increasing waiting times and so on.  Therefore, I propose having clinics within GP surgeries and smaller hospitals specifically for those suffering with long-term and chronic health conditions to enable them to get help and advice before their symptoms become so bad that they are forced to attending Accident and Emergency, therefore cutting the number of people attending there and reducing the number of those taking up inpatient beds in hospitals.

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I would also propose making it easier for patients to get in contact with their GP and consultants.  As a patient I am very often frustrated when I cannot contact a doctor to ask a question or get test results.  Messages are taken and supposedly passed on but it can take a long time for them to get back in touch with me.  So, I would make use of technology within the NHS – for example, allowing patients easy access to contact with their consultants via email.  Also, it wold be great to use Skype for non-urgent appointments in all surgeries across the UK.  Technology is quickly becoming a major feature within all aspects of everyday life so why not implement new technologies such as Skype, tablet computers within healthcare?

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The third change I would make within the healthcare system is the proposal to the end of the ‘postcode lottery’ that exists within the NHS.  The ‘postcode lottery’ refers to the difference in healthcare and treatment depending on where you live in the UK.  In my opinion, this is entirely unfair, imagine that you could receive life-saving treatment or medication if only you lived somewhere else!  The purpose of the National Health Service is to provide a consistent and professional service to each and every person living in the UK, and the ‘postcode lottery’ undermines this very fact.

Those are my proposed changes to the healthcare system in the UK.  If you could make changes within the healthcare system where you live, what would you change?

Loved to hear your thought; feel free to comment below!

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One thought on “Encountering Problems in Healthcare

  1. Not common here in the USA, but I have a great PCP (GP) to whom I do have her e-mail address so even though I’m 1000 miles away now I can contact her for minor questions. For anything not appropriate for email I can call her office and they typically reply same day. So I can only imagine your frustration of not having a level of direct communication. Also with many of the new EHR (electronic health record) systems there is a message system and patients can log in to get test results like lab work that do not need a face to face appointment. Thank you for explaining the issues you’ve experienced with the NHS, there is a group of fellow lipoedema (lipedema in US) ladies in the UK and we all seem to have similar struggles getting diagnosis and treatment for our condition.

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