Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - July 25, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
Third Section The letkbridge Herald Lethbridge, Alberta, Wednesday, July PAGES 2744 BLACK EYE FOR NHS Britons turning back to private medicine LONDON While Americans debate whether to extend Medi- care, in Britain, home of so- cialized medicine, more and more people are opting to pay for their medical care under private health insurance schemes. The trend here is seen as a black eye for Britain's Nation- al Health Service, which cele- brates its 25th birthday in July, and which is currently costing the taxpayer billion a year. high some would say Utopian goal set by the National Health Service, which began op- erations in July, 1948. After a quarter of a century the NHS remains free, aside from minor charges for drug prescriptions, spectacles and dentures. Its services, however, are not adequate in the opinion of many. An example is the acute shortage of doctors, there private sector stresses that it is not competing with socialized medicine, but mere- ly supplementing what the state provides. Nevertheless membership in private health services is booming. The largest of these, the Brit- ish United Provident Associa- tion now has members on its books, which means that it covers two mil- lion people when members' families are taken into account. ADVANTAGES Not all of BUPA's members are company executives. "With the affluent society ordinary working people now find that they can 'afford the best in medicine as well as color tele- vision and holidays on the con- Mrs. Mary Adams, a BUPA executive, explained. The advantages private med- icine has to offer are obvious. For example, a private patient who is hospitalized can choose his own consultant rather than take pot-luck with a National Health Service doctor. More important, the private patient can jump the line for a hospital bed. Currently the NHS has a waiting list of pa- tients for hospital beds, 80 per cent of whom require some form of surgery. An NHS patient stands a 1 in 16 chance of being admitted to one of London's teaching hos- pitals, which are the pamper- ed darlings of state medicine. But a private patient's chances are 1 in 3. (Under the original National Health Act one per cent of the beds in State-owned hospitals are set aside for pri- vate patients.) A free, adequate, and equal health service for all was the By Tom Cullen, Newspaper Enterprise Association ing fewer general practioners today than there were 10 years ago to care for a population. BLUNDER The reason for this is that the government made a colossal blunder in 1955 when it ordered a 10 per cent cut in the intake of medical schools. The govern- ment was basing itself on a The mental and geriatric hospitals, for example, are the Cinderellas of the NHS. Here patients usually get less medi- cal attention, worse food, and live in more miserable condi- tions than other types of cases. AVERAGE In 1971-72 the average weekly expenditure on food in psychia- tric hospitals was per pa- tient whereas other hospitals spent double that amount, and London teaching hospitals spent three times as much. When the NHS came into be- ing in 1948 none of toe private health insurance schemes ex- pected to last more than a year or two. Seventeen of these or- ganizations came together to for the British United Provident Association in a sort of "suicide pact" for tiie purpose of phas- ing out tiieir operations. Nine was more surprised than its founders wLeu after a shaky start (membership drop- ped from in 1948 to in 1950) BUPA caught on. The mid-1950s were the time of spectacular growth, BUPA picking up new mem- faulty population projection which showed pepu ation in- crease of only 4.5 per cent be- tween 1955 and 1971. In reality it grew by almost twice as much. The result is that today the percentage of NHS patients who live in "under-doctored" areas has doubled from 17 per cent to 35 per cent. The doctors themselves, many of whom car- ry a case-load of patients, are overworked, nave turned into mere pill-pushers in many cases. In George Orwell's "Animal Farm" toe Seventh Command- ment, "All animals are was changed to read, "All' ani- mals are equal, but some are more equal than others." This could well be the motto of the National Health Service, which tends to perpetuate old social and economic inequali- ties. bers in the period 1953-1956. By that time disillusionment with Britain's socialized medicine had set in. Today BUPA administers 20 short-stay hospitals of its own, Its building six more. It also operates the finest automated medical centre in Turope, where a complete diagnostic profile of a patient blood tests, x-rays, cardiograph can be compiled in two hours. The NHS has nothing compar- able to offer. IMPORTANT Observers here are con- vinced that private medicine has an important role to play in the socialized medical set- up. "A mammoth State organiza- tion such as our National Health" Service cannot afford to says Dr. William A. R. Thomson, editor of The Practitioner. "Private enterprise on the other hand can and should be prepared to experiment. In this sense the private sector should act as pace-setter for state medicine." SUPER-RAT; Britain has developed new weapon against 'larger-than-life9 rodent NIGEL NAWKES London Observer LONDON The British are fighting a battle against the super-rat. The latest weapon is an artificial hormone, designed to make them sterile a form of compulsory birth control to limit the spread of a population which defies all normal meth- ods of control Mice resistant to poisons such as Warfarin have been known in British cities for some jears. But the rats, which can carry fatal diseases, are a much more senous hazard. They were first spotted several years ago in an area around Welshpool, near the border be- tween England and Wales, and they have spread outwards in- exorably ever since. Attempts to throw a coitlou sanitaire around the super-rats failed, and three years ago the Min- istry of Agriculture bad to ad- mit that despite all their efforts the rats were penetrating to the densely-populated Midi a n d s towns. PROBLEM The arrival of the super-rats Is more than an prob- lem, unpleasant as they are to look at An elderly man living near the origin of the outbreak has died from liver and kidney failure resulting from Weil's disease an infection spread by rats And the World Health Organization has warned that ships' rats in Liverpool docks have resistance to poison, making it likely that the super strain will be exported from to other countries where health standards are lower and where the damage done may be even more senous. Conventional poisons, even when they kill rats, pick off only the weak, old and imma- ture, leaving the rest fighting- fit to reproduce at accelerated speed and quickly make up the deficit For this reason, any poison designed to kill rats, however effective it may be, rais tiie risk of reducing the population only temporarily. And when the numbers increase again they are dominated by the genes of the rats who sur- vived the original poison at- tack. In this way the fortuitous resistance of a few members of a population to a given poison may quickly be transformed in- to a resistance snared by the entire tribe. Hence the attempt to use a hormone which will not Mil the rats but simply make them sterile. Then tiie sterile male rats, by continuing to compete for the favours of the female rats, will prevent the few males unaffected from success- fully impregnating every fe- male in sight. As mortality takes its toll, any population treated with the sterilant win go into a "natural" decline. The difficulty fa to make the sterilization last long enough. Sterilants which have been tried in the past have had only a short-lived effect, but experi- ments reported in this week's NATURE suggest that a new compound, BDH10131 for short, could be much more effective. In the first experiments two pens were set aside, each with eight rats inside two mates and six females At the end of 26 weeks the untreated pen con- tained the frightening total of 55 rats, while the treated col- ony was down to two, both mates. Thus exposure twice a month to the synthetic hormone had completely controlled the rat population. Further experiments using onh one application of the hor- mone nave been equally suc- cessful. In the wild, a refuse top has been treated and the rat population eliminated after only one yer. The success of the experiments, carried out by workers from the Manstery of Agriculture's Pest Infestation Research Laboratory and BDH Research LJd., suggest that the compound might also find uses in the control of other yests snch as pigeons- They conclude that BDH 10131 has "consider- tblc potential" ir the control of a variety of pests, and are to begin a more extensive field evaluation immediately. A failure? When these Britons lined up for free medicine under the fledgling National Health Service in 1948, it was hoped to provide free, adequate and equal health service for all. But today many believe NHS Is inadequate and are turning back to private health care. Firm, plump, golden B.C. Apricots ready now and deliriously good in so many fresh summertime ways. Try them any way you'd serve peaches. APRICOT COTTAGE CHEESE SALAD Wash, halve, pit and peel fresh B.C. Apricots. Arrange crisp lettuce on salad plates; mound cottage cheese on lettuce. Dip apricot halves in maraschino cherry juice and arrange in circle around salad. Garnish with marasthino cherries and parsley. Try these quick apricot summer suggestions: Alternate apricot halves with chunks of cooked ham and green pepper pieces on skewers to barbeque. Chop and fold apricots into sweetened whipped cream to top hot gingerbread. For extra flavour at dinnertime, try adding apricots to halibut steak or your favourite chicken stuffing. And be sure to preserve lots of B.C. Apricots too, for sunshine flavour your family will enjoy all year long. For your copy of our "Sunshine Meals" booklet on prassrvirfl and freezing all 8 C. tres fruits, send your and 25C in coin to B C Tree Fruits Ltd., Dept 'N'. Ketowna. 8 C.