By Jenny Shepherd, Jul 26 2016 08:08PM
I've just spent the best part of 2 hours laid flat on my back with my mouth forced wide open with plastic and metal while the dentist drilled, sprayed and drilled repeatedly to complete the dreaded minor surgery that is the Root Canal. It's fairly hideous. First the injection to numb, then the pick, then the drill. Drills. Slow sledgehammer to ultra-thin needles to scrape and purge the nerve. 45mins of NHS torture which will cost me £53.80. Bargain.
But it's not over. Disinfectant which lets the back of your throat know what the toilet bowl feels being sprayed by Harpic. Finally the filling and the joy of prepping the tooth for a crown. Irony. You drill for 45mins. Fill the hole. Then drill again!
What's all this got to do with the NHS I hear you ask? Well... as an NHS patient I had to decide what quality of crown i wanted - or rather which grade of crown I thought was worth paying for. A standard NHS crown was £200. I didnt go into great detail but that basically would be a strong but incredibly ugly piece of metal. The slightly better one was £400 and this would have been very strong and durable but not white. Then the final option - the "best" - was the £500 Zirconium ( i think I cant honestly remember because I'm still reeling at the price three weeks after being told) which is strong and made to match the colour of your own teeth.
Throughout the whole ordeal of bleach and burning enamel
I was thinking long and hard about the nature of the NHS we could lose and find ourselves lumbered with. The menu for treatment is a reality we have all gotten used to with the dentist. And it will become that way with NHS clinical treatment too. We won't lose the blue logo or the idea of the NHS but we will lose the "comprehensive and universal" element. It wont cover all emergencies and it won't cover everyone - just those who can afford to pay.
You'll turn up at A&E, or your consultant appointment and you will presented with a menu of options - Patient Choice no doubt will be the branding - and you will have to select what you think you can manage to cope with financially. Don't worry if you're not prepared with insurance or a fat bank balance - the basic will still be paid for by the general tax payer community. The basic cover. If you want a nice finish or a comfortable bed with breakfast and decent follow up care you might just need to go for the top-up options.
It has to be this way because the new model of NHS being imposed on us now by NHS England and NHS Improvement (love that name) needs to keep the internal market in control of our NHS. It has to be Sustainable you see... find out about Sustainability
How else are private providers going to keep increasing profits year after year?
In the USA the medical insurance profession has produced a system that gives them the most profit. Obamacare and Medicare cover the basics of healthcare - even then you really have to fight for it - and then if you can afford it you can pay dividends, top-up fees. It's a "pay-as-you-go-if-you-can" system. And, to use the American venacular, it SUCKS!
According to Investopedia : A study done at Harvard University indicates that this is the biggest cause of bankruptcy, representing 62% of all personal bankruptcies. One of the interesting caveats of this study shows that 78% of filers had some form of health insurance, thus bucking the myth that medical bills affect only the uninsured.
Read more: Top 5 Reasons Why People Go Bankrupt | Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/slide-show/top-5-reasons-why-people-go-bankrupt/#ixzz4FXWecRym
This makes even worse reading : CBNC REPORT
Here in the UK the government know it would be political suicide if they declared an end to the NHS. So it's safer to keep the blue logo flying. Safer to disguise the layers of "pay-if-you-can" and pretend it is still the NHS that is the public's head - free at the point of use unless you want "the best". But if you watch and listen carefully they are telling us. It's coming to the end.
Jeremy Hunt in this video (courtesy of our friends KOSHH): Keep Our St Helier Hospital
And Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS MEDICAL DIRECTOR, in his Report on Urgent Care said: "We already have a two tier system and all we (NHS England) are doing is formalising that and bringing an inconvenient truth to the attention of the public". LINK
But the reality is, as NHS campaigner's are fully aware, we could lose everything that is caring about our NHS. The ability to provide what was once the world's best healthcare, the best medical training of nurses, doctors and clinical staff, the best research, the best influence and control on the mammoth financial monster that is the pharmaceutical drug industry.
If you can understand how the system works for the dentist you'll understand where the new NHS is heading. NHS Basic, NHS Better, NHS Best. Depending on what you think you can afford.
Oh... I'm lucky. I have a credit card. I chose the best. I'll be paying for it for the next six months.
But we can stop it. We need the Best NHS - an world-class institution founded once more according to Bevan's vision of a society caring for its citizens' health. A return to a fully public NHS - funded by us, run by us and accountable to us - can only happen if we pressurise our MPs to act out our wishes.
And this is why we need more fighters. Find a campaign group near you, talk to your friends, your neighbours, your workmates. Together the public really could make a difference. The best difference.
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