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Old 04-18-2010, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Numbers View Post
That was some comeback Dave. This is proper debating in my opinion. He didn’t use a single word of my post and managed to craft a superior response. Awesome stuff.
Thanks, man. Looking forward to getting down to this finally.

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Like Dave pointed out in the ideal world, budgetary concerns would not dictate the health care that would be supplied does not exist. And while he rightly pointed out that the NHS is a financial black hole, when the direct (albeit worst case) alternative is a system similar to that in the US, then I prefer what we have.

A great point was made about alcohol and drugs being the result of many of the NHS’s problem. Weaning an addict off of heroin and coke is an expensive and thankless task that often ends in failure. But when you have a cancer sufferer whose fight may also end in failure, is that a thankless task? Is that a black hole of a case which is not worth pouring thousands of pounds worth of treatment into?
Yes, it is a thankless task. Now, I know that that may sound extremely callous but it is true. As of this moment, there is no cure for cancer. People may go into remission thanks to chemotherapy or other drugs. However, at the end of the day, people are paying for it. Let me make it clear that the government, British or otherwise, have very little funding for finding a cure for cancer compared to what they are putting into sectors like defence or education. I am not saying this is a bad thing but what I am trying to point out is that, at the end of the day, most of the research is coming from private funding. When this is the case, most have a end game that usually relies of profit.

For example, if a university was to create a cure for cancer today, you can pretty much guarantee that the government would buy that cure from them. Would it be cheap? Hell no! The university would hold the government for ransom and would get billions of pounds out of the sale. You see, cancer care is not cheap. It costs millions of pounds in a year and is completely thankless in most cases. If a cure is discovered, it certainly won’t be by the government and they will have to pay for it to entered into public use. Think how many people are affected by cancer each year and think of all the money the government would be shelling out on that, if the medicine were free… It’s ignorant to think that free cancer cure and research does and would exist.

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I say that while we pay National Insurance, we are entitled to the healthcare and doctors visits that it affords. Whether that means going to the doctors surgery for a check up or a minor health concern or an emergency visit which leads to longer treatments and repeated visits, we should not have to worry about insurance or not being able to afford treatment.
In an ideal world, I would be right behind you here but as I stated, we do not live in an idea world. We live in a world where nothing comes for free. You can visit a doctor at any time in the UK and people assume that it is free but it isn’t. In the last 24 months, GP’s have been told to reduce the amount of drugs that they give out. In fact, GP’s and surgeries are generally looked better upon if the reduce the overall spending on prescriptions and GP’s are being ordered to give out weaker drugs initially to see if they solve the problems. Clearly, people are not getting what they need and are returning to the GP for the stronger drugs. The GP will then put them onto a slightly stronger drug and this will carry on until they get what they actually need.

This may seem silly but this is another way of the Government trying to save money on prescriptions. People are being put second to money and this is exactly what is wrong with the country. However, it is financially reprehensible to think that this is the wrong way to go about things. In some cases, Doctors have been told to stop giving out antibiotics to patients when they are suffering from coughs and colds. You see, everything in the NHS is regulated and comes down to cost. It is also true that people who see specialists are generally those who ask. GP’s have been told not to suggest a specialist until the problem the patient is suffering from gets to a point where it cannot be ignored any more. However, it is your right to see a specialist on the NHS and if you ask, they have to give it to you. However, again, it comes down to cost. It is cheaper for the GP to treat you incorrectly than it is to send you to a specialist.

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With life expectancy increasing all the time and social ills like alcohol, drugs and smoking readily available and relatively cheap, the NHS will naturally come under more strain. It’s simply an unfortunate necessity, a fact of what life in a developed society has become.

It is socially acceptable to drink yourself silly two or three times a month. There are less reasons to participate in physical activities with videogames and television. Now I don’t participate to the ridiculous propaganda of computer games and television being evil, far from it and it would be highly ironic of me to do so. But they are a common feature of a child’s development and they are blamed from many parties for childhood obesity.

Obesity is in no way, shape or form down to just computer games. Lazy parenting and poor diets are the likely reasons. But while parents are not financially encouraged to take up exercise and healthy foods, the cheap option will always be the easy option.

My solution would be two fold: Fill the black hole. Increase taxes and levies on cigarettes and alcohol. Reward purchases of fruit and vegetables by making them easier to grow and cheaper to buy. Families and schools should all be encouraged to participate in physical education and walk to work and school.
Are you serious?

I mean, I totally agree but this last paragraph is exactly my point. If you increase taxes, then you are not putting your people first, you are putting their money first. The fact of the matter is that people are not going to accept a tax increase. This is especially true of right now, when we are in the middle of a recession that leaves people scrimping and saving just to feed themselves.

The fact of the matter is that the Government have put fantastic policies and regulations into place to try and make people healthier and the people generally do not accept it. With every budget meeting that comes along, you can almost guarantee that import duty on alcohol and tobacco will increase. This is not for them to be seen as villains, it is because they are trying to make people healthier. Yet, it will be sensationalised in the nation newspapers the next day and people will kick off about it. It is the government’s way of thinking that if they make these things harder to get and more expensive, people will just simply stop. You see, the Government spend millions upon on a year in treating disease and ailments caused by harmful and addictive substances that would decrease if people stopped doing it. Hell, it was half the reason that smoking was banned inside public places. The government saw them as a hotbed of passive smoking and cut it out.

The government also have introduced policies that are supposed to make people healthier. They subsidise the cost of baby milk and yet childhood obesity is at it’s highest in our history. Let me make it clear that the biggest cause of childhood obesity is squalor. It has been identified to the Government that affordability is not the issue with healthier food, it is the availability. This means that low-income families cannot make it to supermarkets to get the healthier food. So, they become content with going to corner shops and buying frozen foods with additives that make children overweight and who can blame them? Would you attempt to take your kids and a pram on a public bus to get a pack of apples? Some would but the majority wouldn’t, I’m afraid.

You can reduce the cost of healthier foods and it wouldn’t make a difference at the end of the day because the people who really need it would not be able to get to it.

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Secondly would reduce the functioning cost of the NHS without compromising the healthcare being delivered. Simply put, there are too many administrators and middle men that clog up the system. The decision makers need to do their job without worrying about other things. A simple audit would show what is necessary.

I’m not arguing that total healthcare should be totally free. As Dave pointed out, it’s ignorant and short-sighted. I simply believe that the nation should be made to pay for what it uses. We should be rewarded for healthy choices and punished for the negative and lazy. Prevention of the abuse of resources is absolutely key and as I have discussed the solution is relatively simple.
I’m sorry but it is far from simple. The Government have been trying to wean people off of the NHS and usher them into the private sector for years now and it is all about cost-cutting. However, the British people, as a whole, have become complacent will not accept being told that something they rely on heavily, will no longer be there for them.

The problem with being punished for lazy choices is that who is going to regulate that, the local government? Well, since health is not devolved officially but relies on location, that seems a little silly. You see, every region in the UK has a localised health budget. A term that has been coined by the tabloid newspapers describe it as a “postcode lottery” and that is exactly what is happening. In areas where conservatives rule and council tax is lower, you can bet that health is going to be better. It mainly comes down to the fact that richer people are going to be healthier. This means that they are not taking as much out of the NHS for treatment and hence, their area is more likely to get the best treatment when it is needed.

A highly publicised case was Mrs. McLeod vs. the NHS. Mrs. McLeod was not allowed herceptin, a drug that generally reduces the size of tumour is victims of breast cancer. She took the NHS to the supreme court to complain that she should be allowed her drugs and that a specialised unit that was lying dormant because of “budgetary restraints” should be re-opened. She won the case but lost her life to cancer. My point is, that if she lived 50 miles in another direction, in a richer area, she would have gotten the drugs without fuss. The NHS is full of inequalities and whilst this may be ridiculous, it exists and has to be accepted. The cancer drugs are expensive and if a budget cannot afford to give it to people who are most at risk, then my point is proven.

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I certainly believe prescriptions should be more expensive. Newly developed medicine should be made more widely available, especially those that help illnesses which place a greater burden on the service. Cancer treatment and other long-suffering, long term illnesses which place a heavy burden on the service should be available to all. There are currently too many cases where people are being allowed to suffer because their regional authorities refuse to pay up. The companies which develop this medicine should be encouraged or forced to supply it cheaper because illnesses like cancer place a massive strain on the system.
I agree but this is exactly my point. Governments are being held to ransom by companies who develop these drugs. At the end of the day, these companies are cold and calculating and want the money. Their can simply be no law introduced to say that it should be cheaper to buy from them, or indeed free because then they wouldn’t exits. People would stop trying to find cures because it would simply be not cost-effective. Nothing would be developed and the government would be in a worse off position. It sucks but that is the way of things, I am afraid.

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Personally, I have had a hard time debating that we should not come first as a populace but it is completely the right way of approaching the problems. To let people continue on with their abusive habits is doing more harm than good. You see adverts funded by the government that try and get the right message across and this is a correct way of doing things. It is certainly cheaper than allowing people to eat or drink themselves into a mess that needs to be mopped up in 10-15 years time.

It is a sad state of affairs but the government is not the top tier of medical care or authority. They are secondary to the companies that develop new drugs and treatments that allow people to get better. At the end of the day, they have purchase these drugs and they are mightily expensive. It would not make sense to then pass them along for free and as medical care becomes more expensive, the government are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They simply cannot afford to put us first and we will always come second to financial gain.

Thanks for a great debate, Numbers.
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