Americans complain about healthcare and its cost. Brits, on the other hand, myself included, are proud of the “free” National Health Service. Or, to be exact, what used to be the National Health Service before the “Conservative” government started privatizing it by stealth and making it a profit center. Now read on………
To The Guardian
I have just seen an official circular from a large group medical practice in Manchester, announcing that, because of winter pressures, the Covid pandemic and the designation of Manchester as a high-risk zone, they will now be dealing only with “urgent” cases, nothing of a “routine” nature. If we have Covid symptoms we are instructed to get a test, but the surgery is unable to arrange it; “minor ailments” are to be taken to a pharmacist, or “please implement self-care where appropriate”.
What is not made clear is how a patient is to know if a symptom is “minor” (what if a tickly cough, for example, is lung cancer?), or how a patient is to know when self-care is “appropriate”.
There you have it: non-healthcare made official and explicit. The virus is proving to be breathtaking in more ways than one. Can we have our money back?
(Philip Barber, consultant respiratory physician, Manchester)