Friday, February 6, 2015

No Health System (NHS)

One of the pleasures of living in this small island is that you get to experience a unique healthcare system known as NHS (No Health System)

On paper; it is free, egalitarian, available to all and is as  good as freedom and democracy. But the problem is that it has to exist beyond paper.

May be, if you are the Queen's diaper changer or the PM's shoe polisher, the system could work for you.But from the perspective of the lowly life form known as the student immigrant from third world, it is more or less punishment park. You need to pray hard to the forces of universe that you should never fall ill till you leave this island.

The forces of universe were not that kind to self and self had to approach  No Health System (NHS) quite a few times.

The first hurdle is to convince the receptionist that you are dying. This takes no mean effort and from experience, self can certify that even crying over the phone doesn't help. If you are lucky, you will get an appointment in two days. By that time, you might have become used to excruciating pain or might have fainted a few times. Of course, you can go to Emergency Services. They will give you paracetemol and will say that they can do nothing else.

Self has on three occasions actually achieved the rare sighting of a GP.
Here are the results

1. Self: "Fever, dizziness, blah..blah"
GP: "Eat leafy vegetables and you will be fine. No need for anything else"

2. Self: "Throat infection, fever, blah..blah.."
GP: "I am feeling kind. Have this pencilin type antibiotics which must be from the 1970s."

Result: Self caught a skin condition which has refused to go away in a year. But it is a bearable condition and self has made peace with it.

3. This was the best. Had the misfortune of catching an eye problem which requires some specialist care.

GP: "I can't do anything. I can't suggest anything. I can refer you to see a specialist which might take God knows how many days/months"

Time spend on diagnosis: 2 minutes.

Some bugger in the government was suggesting that NHS should give online diagnosis. I am all for it. It is better than waiting for days to meet robotic idiots who tell you that they can't do anything. Just like they are replacing peopled counters at the underground with ticket machine, they should install doctor machines. At least, the machines won't give you the optical illusion of meeting a human.

PS: Finally, a seasoned immigrant family gave how they made peace with the island's No Health System (NHS). They regularly send their GP wine and other goodies and there has never been any hitch in the service

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