Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Rationing Health Care

Here is how it is done in Britain.

The rules of our local wheelchair services state very clearly that unless you use a power wheelchair for a minimum of six months full time solely indoors, they will not even consider you for a powered wheelchair capable of outdoor use. That ruled me out straight away. I refused to give up the limited amount of mobility I did have, which at the time was pretty much crawling around the house anyway, knowing full well if I went into a wheelchair full time not only would I never regain any further function, but that it would be incredibly damaging to all my joints and overall condition. I also knew sitting in a wheelchair full time indoors would rapidly lead to hypothermia and pressure sores. I weighed all of 32 kilograms at the time. I felt being forced to comply with such a rule would probably kill me. So did the initial assessor at the wheelchair services. I was told that despite all this, despite them knowing that I was physically incapable of propelling myself in a manual wheelchair due to dislocating shoulders, elbows and wrists I could not have a powered wheelchair. I could however have a manual self propel wheelchair at any time I wanted. Or a wheelchair someone else could push me in. Although they were aware that at the time I did not have anyone to push me. Sorry. Those were the rules. Ridiculous though they may be.
The blog owner makes a trenchant comment:
This is, as you might think, a completely stupid situation but is, of course, actually derived from the rationing necessary in a state-funded NHS.
There is no such thing as top quality free medical care. At least with privately funded and owned care givers you can be sure the money is going into medicine (not counting all the paper work to comply with government regs.).

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