Quote from XB9S
Chronic illness and disease there are govenment targets that all healthcare trusts are trying to meet, in the hospital where I work from time of referral to a consultant outpatient appointment you are looking at 4-5 months then if surgery is required a further 4 - 5 months depending on priority.
This is very dependent on where you live "postcode lottery" comes to mind. The trust where I worked, just prior to me leaving for Oz, had got the "choose and book" sysytem up and running and virtually everyone, whatever their referral speciality, were getting consultant appointments within 1 to 3 weeks. Any necessary surgery/treatment required following was offered within the 3 month target wait. So its really variable depending on whether or not you are lucky enough to be in an area where the NHS trust providing services is one of the better run ones.
I have worked in several healthcare systems. Not one of them is ideal, there are flaws to all.
A system such as that in the UK, where treatment is available to all free of charge at point of service, is the ideal, BUT its unsustainable at current levels of funding. I don't and never will agree with the concept of every individual having to pay for healthcare at point of service.
Those that have experienced the two extremes will know how desperate it can truly be when your ability to pay will determine your level of hospital care. We are all human, surely we all deserve the best in healthcare, why should those with more money than ourselves get priority? Its not right. The basis of the NHS was to provide a "free for all service", that would not differentiate between the rich and the poor. Unfortunatly, with medical advancement, larger population, people living longer and more ill health, the cost of such a system places a massive burden on the resources of the country.
Sure, let people with more money go out and buy their Ferraris', Ill stick with my micra, but shouldn't we all get the same benefits when it comes to our health?
There are some abusers of such a system, there will be of any system, but most people work hard and every human deserves to be treated with equality.
There will never be a "right" answer, all we can do is look at how other countries provide healthcare and maybe bundle a few ideas together to create the "perfect" system. (I can dream can't I!!!!!)