During the past few months, the United States has been embroiled in a debate about the government takeover of Health Care. Our friends “across the pond” in Great Britain have been discussing healthcare as well. The UK discussions are not about a government health care takeover, that has already happened, their discussions have been about how awful the medical care is in the British socialized medical system.
We are constantly that a most important part of treating cancer is early detection. The newest revelation about the over-worked British medical system is up to 10,000 British lives a year are lost because of a delayed diagnosis of their cancer.
Currently, 90% of patients are diagnosed by symptoms, rather than through screening. Professor Richards’ comments will feature in a forthcoming article in the British Journal of Cancer. In the piece, Professor Richards says: “These delays in the patient presenting with symptoms and cancer being diagnosed at a late stage inevitably costs lives.
…He cited a new study which found about half the deaths that could be prevented were due to Britain’s three biggest cancer killers – tumours of the lung, colon and breast.
Professor Richards said part of the problem was that British people were worried about wasting doctors’ time, and so often did not present until their symptoms were relatively advanced.
It is true that British doctors are way too busy:
In Britain, a lack of practicing physicians means the country has had to import thousands of foreign doctors to care for patients in the National Health Service.
“A third of (British) primary care trusts are flying in (general practitioners) from as far away as Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Switzerland” because of a doctor shortage, a recent story in the British Daily Mail noted.
British doctors, demoralized by long hours and burdensome rules, simply refuse to see patients at nights and weekends.
But its not just patients worried about wasting their overworked Doctor’s time:
…”Patients will sometimes tell us that they had been going to see their GP for six to nine months with, say, a pain in their stomach and were told to go to the pharmacy and buy an over-the-counter medicine (and later are found to have cancer).”
..Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said GPs should reflect on whether there were things they could do to make sure cancer symptoms were picked up earlier.
He said: “It’s wrong to blame GPs for all these deaths, as there are many factors involved, including patients not recognising symptoms of cancer and not talking to their GP about them, especially middle-aged men.
Yes this is the same socialized British system the progressives tell us is so much better than the system here in the United States. The truth is our system is much better. Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers. Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the United Kingdom and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.
Maybe the higher mortality rate has to do with waiting time, Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in United Kingdom. British patients wait about twice as long—sometimes more than a year—to see a specialist, have elective surgery such as hip replacements, or get radiation treatment for cancer. All told, in Britain, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.
What President Obama and the Progressives will not tell you is the only thing we can learn from the British system is that socialized medicine kills, because of the problem above and other issues such as:
- Medicine that could save lives is not prescribed because it costs too much.
- Procedures to alleviate pain are eliminated as a cost savings device.
- Doctor’s Forced to withdraw treatments to early as to speed up death.
These are just a few examples from Great Britain. The part that is frightening is, should the progressives get their way, the same issues will arise in the United States.