What’s up doc(s)?

Apparently doctors, nurses and dentists would rather chose private health care than that of their own organisation: the National Health Service.

There are two sides to this of course, since if a doctor is ill he won’t be able to treat anyone, it makes sense to get better as quickly as possible, and if you want speed you have to pay, which means private health care.

On the other hand if doctors don’t appear to have any faith in the care given by them and their colleagues then what should Jo Public think?

It might be unfair to say that medical staff don’t have faith in the NHS, but that’s the signal they are sending out with this latest set of findings, which say 5% of doctors and 2% of nurses use Bupa, Britain’s biggest private health insurer.

The results come as Bupa announces staff discounts for NHS workers of up to £636 a year. Senior doctors and interest groups were quick to criticise the move since it suggests doctors and nurses have no faith in the service they are providing.

Ben Ummat, a first year medical student at University College London, said:

“The private sector is still ahead of the public one, and even if the two were neck and neck I’d probably still pay rather than wait. It comes down to personal choice, but there’s no doubt the medical community is on shaky ground.”

Despite this apparent faith in private practice, the BBC reports this week that private clinics are not seeing as many patients as they should.

Many private institutions still carry out NHS care, but figures from the Department of Health suggest only four of the 25 centres opened are meeting standards.

The centres were set up to treat minor diagnostic tests and do minor surgeries in a bid to cut waiting times.

When it comes down to it the workers in the NHS have enough medical expertise to make up their own minds what’s best for them, and 5% of the whole doctor population of the UK is hardly an overwhelming majority, which might suggest it’s an overreaction to say workers are ‘losing faith’ in the health service.

For the public, the most important thing is that they get the treatment they want, and have access to it at all times, since it’s their taxes which pay for it, but if they do chose to go private to save some time then who are we to blame them?


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