We Need A Better ‘System’ Of Healthcare

2013-06-27 07.48.37As readers of this blog know I have some health challenges and have certainly had my fair share of issues with the existing healthcare provision in the UK.  I’ve been forced to largely take ownership of my own care, because the NHS has poor execution of integrated care.  I’m not the only person who has this issue of course, almost everyone I talk to who had a chronic health problem has the same issue. 

With the exception of acute care, doctors rarely work together as an integrated team, the system of deep, fragmented specialisms and overloaded GPs doesn’t allow them to.  It’s not impossible though, my daughter received superb integrated care from her specialist team at Alder Hey Hospital over a period of many years.

Browsing through Bill Gates’ favourite TED talks today I cam across a video that talked directly to this issue, and in the comments I noticed someone using the phrase:

[healthcare] is about treating symptoms which just happens to have a person attached to them

This is exactly my experience.  All too often my various specialists have no interest in listening to me, they simply want to ask questions that identify symptoms that they match to medications.  By way of example one specialist said to me:

I’m a clinician all I do is prescribe medications

Another said:

I’m a rheumatologist, we treat inflammation, not people

Several times I’ve been prescribed medications with side effects that made problems I was seeing other specialists for worse.  Invariably even though I told them about the worsening symptoms in the area outside of their specialism the link wasn’t spotted.  It’s as if they just stopped listening if the symptom being described wasn’t ‘one of theirs’.

I’ve not given up on modern healthcare, I still can’t cope without it but my approach has changed significantly. My focus now is firmly on living well, letting my body heal itself and my mind come to terms with living with my limitations.

The video is worth watching.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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