Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Britain, UK news from The Times and The Sunday Times - Times Online

Interesting (but also frightening) article out of the UK on implications of life-saving treatments. Here's the opening paragraph:
"The Government today intervened directly in a right-to-life case being heard at the Court of Appeal with a message to judges that giving patients the right to demand lfe-prolonging treatment would have "very serious implications" for the National Health Service."
Since my sister got married & moved to the UK, I've been following news over there a little more closely.

The article goes on to discuss the efficient use of resources in the NHS, which I'm assuming is the nationalized health system over there (or nationalised, if you are over there), and then says this:
"But the patient cannot require his doctor to offer him any treatment option which, in the doctor’s view, is not clinically appropriate or which cannot be offered for other reasons - having regard to the efficient allocation of resources within the NHS."
Now, I can understand and appreciate wanting to use resources wisely (some would call this stewardship), and also making sure that physicians are making recommendations on treatments, rather than patients. But from my reading it seems as though what's being said, between the lines if not outright, is that treatments need to be looked at not only from a health of the patient perspective, but also on a cost-benefit analysis to the organization (in this case, the national health-care system). And that is what frightens me.

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