Finally ‘Obamacare’ has been made law in the USA and now more people in the USA will be able to access good quality healthcare without discrimination on age, sex, gender, race or disease. In the UK however healthcare discrimination is still very evident against our older (and younger) people, people suffering from mental health problems and people with disabilities. A focus upon discrimination is interesting in that it helps us to explore some of the problems within the UK healthcare system which focuses more on meeting targets and measuring effectiveness by throughput e.g. bed usage, immunisation, screening, mortality rates etc. In fact some of my colleagues how found themselves to be criticised for keeping people alive in that the patient spends longer in the bed/service than they would have otherwise done. If we are so obsessed with collecting numbers perhaps there should be more focus upon reducing staff sickness rates for all the burnt out staff who can no longer fight the system, or the numbers of readmissions for people who were discharged too soon?
To be fair efficiency is an important part of any system in order for it work effectively but sometimes in the UK I think we lose sight of what our healthcare system is about. While the USA have changed their focus to ensure that discrimination does not affect any person’s ability to access healthcare for as long as they need it, in the UK, we appear to be creating so much bureaucratic red tape that people can no longer find a way in to the system. If we are fortunate to be able to access treatment by getting into the system via a hospital bed or outpatient appointment we then have to be satisfied with becoming a target for not falling or catching an infection ( while we are receiving said treatment) or for being fixed/cured within a certain time frame. If we do not meet these targets (and this is where people are blamed for but usually have no control over what happens to them once in the system e.g. bed blockers sorry delayed discharges), them people no longer matter because essentially they do not make the figures/ targets look good.
I for one am in favour of the Care Quality Commission for trying to see through this healthcare maze that we have created in the UK but even they are criticised for not measuring the right thing at the right time. Perhaps this is not thier fault because they are commissioned to measure what the government wants them to measure. Maybe, just maybe, the UK government are asking them to measure the wrong thing?