This Sceptred Aisle by Pat Conrad MD

It’s sort of shooting low hanging fruit in a barrel, but is there ever a wrong time to make fun of production-line health care?

The land that brought us Monty Python and is now banning scary-looking knives is also an epoch leader in the “health care is a right” thought disorder, and as ever is short of cash.  The United Kingdom National Health Service has overbooked and overworked their GP’s to the point that they are making plans for group visits, in groups of up to 15, and included in the new 10-year plan.  Patient advocacy groups say that patients would feel “incredibly uncomfortable,” to which I say Thhhhhffffbbbpppptttttt!  The taxpayers have felt incredibly uncomfortable for years funding this expenditure without end.  And what about the GP’s?  How exactly did a shortage occur, if they were trained and paid appropriately?  Patients are getting more of the consequences of the public policy they have chosen since 1945, and they deserve these rewards. 

 “Doctors at the Royal College of GPs’ annual conference yesterday said the groups were a ‘fun and efficient’ way to carry out consultations with patients who shared the same conditions.”  Which is proof that the AAFP has a branch office in London. 

 “Doctors using group consultations said they had proved far more efficient at dealing with a host of heath complaints, including arthritis, diabetes, obesity, and even treatment of erectile dysfunction.”  Oh, I’ll bet!  “Gladys, you’ve stuff down any more boiled kidney pie and you’ll weigh 3 stone more, priming yourself for the arthritis Beatrice keeps complaining about all the while refusing to exercise, and Gertrude here can’t get any wink-wink, nudge-nudge from ol’ Tom, who’s just joining us today because he can’t wake up his old fellow, isn’t that right Tom?” 

“Under the system, patients will spend much of their time with a “facilitator” – a receptionist, clerk or healthcare assistant with a day’s training – who can point them to advice on their health condition, the conference was told.”  That sounds familiar.

 Okay, now everyone take a deep, calming breath before this next, realizing that it isn’t parody:

 “GPs said patients were given forms telling them to respect confidentiality, and told: ‘What’s said in the room stays in the room; don’t go discussing it with the postman and his dog.’”  By now Tom’s troubles have made it around the pub.

 Before we laugh too hard, we should remember U.S. voters watched this mess unfold – and then instituted Medicare.  We saw it get worse in Britain, and we expanded Medicaid.  We have several decades of experience in embracing bad ideas incrementally without arguing against their central flaws.  Which makes us dumber than people who habitually eat kidneys and deliberately watch soccer.

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128520cookie-checkThis Sceptred Aisle by Pat Conrad MD