Exchange Program Gives Doctors Different Views Of Health Care

By: Caroline Brady Email
By: Caroline Brady Email

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During the recent presidential campaign, few issues were discussed or debated more often than health care. President-elect Obama has promised reform and he might get some of his ideas from across the pond.

Annica Goddard is a general physician from England. On Thursday, she and several other professionals from the U.K. visited Wesley Medical Center as one-half of the rotary international's study exchange team.

The group carefully compared its "socialized health care" plan to what's available here.

In the U.K., the National Health Service provides care for all citizens based on their need, not their ability to pay.

The system is run with taxpayer funds and managed by the Department of Health and it operates on a simple principle: the biggest problems see the doctor first.

While this makes sense in the ER, patients wanting an elective procedure are forced to wait.

"If you have something like a hip arthritis or varicose vein surgery, you might well be waiting several months for your treatment," Dr. Goddard said.

Patients can make same-day appointments to see Dr. Goddard for an examination, but her ability to follow-up is limited.

"If then they needed an x-ray, I'd put the request card in. If it wasn't urgent, that x-ray might be done two weeks later. I would get the report a week after that," she said.

The other half of the exchange program returned from its study overseas last month.

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