While debate in the US continues about Obama’s healthcare reforms, perhaps UK residents who worry about the NHS should reflect on the state of private medical care in the UK.
People having hip replacements at private treatment centres brought in to cut waiting times are up to 20 times more likely to need painful and expensive repair work. Many operations are having to be redone in NHS hospitals, at great cost and with serious staffing implications for the health service.
Tony Hui, chairman of the British Orthopaedic Directors Society, which represents heads of NHS orthopaedic departments, said that care in his area of South Teesside had also been affected. “We are seeing patients that have been treated elsewhere and they have problems and end up back at the NHS. The work has been suboptimal, and we have to do the revision which is time consuming, risky and expensive. With each case that comes along it’s another half day of operating — which could be two other patients.”
Steve Cannon, a surgeon at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, northwest London, said the scheme had been about “speed of getting through the numbers” and was an “iniquitous waste of money”.