NEWS

Disabled Children Wait up to Two Years for Wheelchairs

March 07, 2009
Dr Bhaskar Dasgupta

You know I keep on moaning about the fact that the ways of meeting children’s needs here in this country are strange? We are doing something for our long term sick children’s education by providing them by computers but i suppose you can say that that’s sort of optional.

But how about children who are unable to walk and need a wheelchair? If we have a fully funded NHS, surely they should be getting a wheelchair immediately? Well, no, unfortunately no. Read this and weep. I quote:

The NHS was told today to stop relying on charities to fill funding gaps after figures revealed many trusts would not pay the full cost of electric wheelchairs for disabled children.

Why on earth is this situation allowed to happen? Why aren't they given a wheelchair immediately? This is mental child abuse. And then not only people have to pay their taxes, but also give charity? Talk about being inefficient.

Statistics from 54% of NHS trusts in England and Scotland revealed that disabled children in England are forced to wait five months on average for a wheelchair.

5 months. Can you imagine? If you aren't disabled, think about this, you are forced to wait for 5 months for shoes. You dont have shoes. You cannot just go and buy them but are waiting to get them. Not for 1 day, not 2 days nor wait till the weekend so that you can purchase it, but for 5 months, 20 weeks, 140 days. 140 days without any shoes. Can you imagine what that will do to your feet? Now think about the poor disabled child. 5 months without a wheelchair.

The worst performing primary care trust (PCT), East Lancashire, in the north-west of England, had an average wait of two years for an electric wheelchair.

5 months was average across the country, but this area had an average wait of TWO years. And if you think that manual wheelchairs are possible, remember we are talking about children who are unable to control their muscles, so they cannot literally move about without assistance. Electric wheelchairs allow them to do so. And this is average 2 years, means 50% of the children in that area would have spent much more than 2 years waiting for an electric wheelchair.

The survey showed 58% of children in England had to wait at least three months for an electric wheelchair and 14% waited more than six months.

It gets worse. We are indeed a 3rd world country if this is how we treat our children in need. And then apparently we have sunk tons of money into the NHS.

Overall, 50% of the PCTs that responded said they did not fund the full cost of a powered wheelchair for a disabled child. Westminster PCT made an average contribution of only £700 towards the cost of a child's powered wheelchair, it said. Almost all PCTs contacted by the charity said the cost of a wheelchair was around £2,000 but in fact the true cost of a basic electric wheelchair would be around £3,000.

Holy crap. And rest of the money comes from charity, eh? typical.

A separate patient survey of 237 children found one in three did not receive any funding at all for their wheelchair.

And 1/3rd of the children dont receive any help whatsoever. Wonderful, you silly twits in the government. Do something!, get off your fat backsides and give this money to the kids. Or else, we will take the money for your shoes and give it to the kids. I bet that then the money will be found very quickly, no? And then when you read something like this, you feel so sad. I quote:

Family doctors are failing to provide improved services for patients, despite being paid tens of millions of pounds to do so, a report claims.

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Dr. Bhaskar Dasgupta works in the city of London in various capacities in the financial sector. He has worked and travelled widely around the world. The articles in here relate to his current studies and are strictly his opinion and do not reflect the position of his past or current employer(s). If you do want to blame somebody, then blame my sister and editor, she is responsible for everything, the ideas, the writing, the quotes, the drive, the israeli-palestinian crisis, global warming, the ozone layer depletion and the argentinian debt crisis.
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#1
temporal
URL
March 7, 2009
12:59 PM

NOTE: digression

most airlines do not charge for wheelchairs...i know folks who take a new or used wheel chair everytime they fly home...to be given to the needy

#2
BD
URL
March 7, 2009
02:59 PM

that's a good suggestion, t, very good!

#3
Ruvy
URL
March 7, 2009
04:57 PM

Bd,

For what it is worth, you can get a wheelchair within a day or two here from a charity called "Yad Sarah" (the hand of Sarah) which works with the health insurance providers here in Israel. After a certain amount of time, Yad Sarah will require a NIS 500 deposit to secure the wheelchair, and this can be a hardship on poor people here, but folks who need do not go without.

From what I understand, you are writing about the UK, an allegedly first world country with a cradle to grave national health service. And Israel, saddled as it is with a Stalinist bureaucracy, gets the job done a whole lot faster!

NU? Live and learn. The UK is nowhere near the first world country it would have outsiders believe it is, evidently.

Apparently the Brits, in their swamps of stupidity, have a great deal to learn from us Jews - far more than they are capable of admitting.

#4
BD
URL
March 8, 2009
02:31 PM

Ruvy

that's the point, children should not rely on charity to get basic medical equipment. And yes, it is indeed shameful.

#5
Ruvy
URL
March 8, 2009
06:31 PM

BD,

I think you are missing my point. Yad Sarah specializes in supplying basic medical equipment quickly to those in need - and it works with the health providers so that all is done with all possible speed.

In other words, Yad Sarah has integrated itself into the medical treatment system in Israel. The mere fact that it is a charity is irrelevant. It works hand-in-hand with medical providers to distribute medical equipment quickly to patients. Aside from perhaps a day, there are no waits at all.

That is a whole lot better than the NHS can accomplish with your tax money, BD. As I said, the Brits have quite a lot to learn from us when it comes to medical care.

#6
BD
URL
March 9, 2009
01:48 AM

Ruvy,

i am afraid the fact that a charity is doing a job which should be done by the public sector IS indeed the point.

One cannot say one has a universal health service funded by general taxation and then say that a piece of it is delivered by private subscriptions. See what I mean?

#7
kerty
March 9, 2009
02:30 AM

BD

"children should not rely on charity to get basic medical equipment. And yes, it is indeed shameful."

Why would it be less shameful if children have to rely on taxes confiscated from total strangers. Why should a total stranger be forced at gun point to pay for taking care of needs of somebody else's children? At lest charity is voluntary, and has the consent of the subscriber. So why is it shameful, while one by the public sector is not?

#8
Kerty
March 9, 2009
02:59 AM

BD

"children should not rely on charity to get basic medical equipment. And yes, it is indeed shameful."

Why would it be less shameful if children have to rely on taxes confiscated from total strangers. Why should a total stranger be forced at gun point to pay for taking care of needs of somebody else's children? At lest charity is voluntary, and has the consent of the subscriber. So why is it shameful, while one by the public sector is not?

#9
Ruvy
URL
March 9, 2009
06:33 AM

One cannot say one has a universal health service funded by general taxation and then say that a piece of it is delivered by private subscriptions. See what I mean?

BD, I do not know what you teach, but I know what I learned studying public administration. When I studied the subject, New York City was on the verge of bankruptcy (the mid 1970's) and needed to figure out ways to deliver services to its citizens. New Yorkers and others figured out that if they partnered with private non-profits they could stretch tax monies better.

This is not a new concept and in an age where the state has fewer and fewer resources, partnering with non-profits is often the way to go. That is what is happening here in Israel. Here it is the law that each citizen above 18 pays a premium to the National Insurance Institute which passes this premium to one of four health care providers. The health care providers are for-profit companies. Each citizen has a health insurance card, and the premiums pay for a basic mandated set of services, commonly known as "a basket". In addition, one can buy additional services that create a bigger basket of services for the individual, like giving steep discounts on blood monitor machines, blood pressure machines, and the like, and providing services overseas (most particularly organ transplants - which are very hard to get with such a small population in Israel).

The result of this mixed public-private system is that I pay nothing to see a general practitioner, pay 15% of the market price for almost all drugs written by a prescription, pay a nominal fee (about 5) to see a specialist, have an x-ray or some medical test like a CAT Scan. I pay nothing to go to a hospital (if admitted) and pay nothing for the ambulance to the hospital (if admitted).

Yad Sarah is a non-profit that specializes in providing medical equipment like wheel-chairs.

Now, BD, you can have an efficient mixed system, as does Israel or Australia, or you can have an inefficient government operated system that leaves children in the UK waiting for two years for wheel-chairs. Which do you think is better?

#10
kerty
March 9, 2009
09:40 AM

Ruvy

That sounds a sensible system, a good trade off.

It boils down to mandate of government and its role. Since money belongs to tax-payers, they have to make the best use of it. There are certain things government, private sector, charities are good at, and tax-payers should not be forced to use one against another if it does not make fiscal sense. Government should focus on common minimum needs of its citizens at large, not narrowly-focused needs or special interest needs because there can be no end to special interest needs when you add them up from all spheres and all constituencies - lib/leftists like to appease them for votebanks and hence robbing the tax payers and bloating the government has become their manifesto. Government should use the taxes that addresses the needs of all in the society at large, not narrow and special interests.

So the litmus test for government involvement is:

1) Can charities do it reasonably well? If yes, than charities should be empowered to take on that need.

2) Can private sector do it reasonably well. If yes, than private sector should be empowered to take up that need.

3) When charities and private sector can not do it well, than government should think if it is that critical and about how best to reach out and make sure such special critical needs are met. It must seek the consensus and consent from the tax payers if it is the best use of their money. It may make sense to outsource something to private-public partnership, involve foreign sector, charities, any combination thereof.

#11
BD
URL
March 9, 2009
04:46 PM

just after I typed in a long reply to both of you, the damn machine crashed.

Anyway, Kerty, please check out the wiki entry on NHS, you perhaps dont know how the NHS is funded.

Ruvy. You are still not getting the point. You do have a publicly funded health service. My point is that why is Israel and UK relying on private funding for core healthcare requirements? Yes, i realise that you cannot fund everybody, but I gave an example of core funding which can be used for this purpose.

Also, you might want to check out the WHO comparison of world heathcare systems before banging your drum, mate to find out where Israel is and where the UK is. Every health care system can be improved. Private charitable healthcare immediately means that citizens are not treated equitably. I know that there are massive inequalities in Israeli healthcare across the country.

Cheers

bd

#12
Kerty
March 9, 2009
05:55 PM

"My point is that why is Israel and UK relying on private funding for core healthcare requirements?"

I am making an opposite point - why are they relying on public funding for core or special health care requirements? Why complain about delays, lack of incentives, inefficiencies or corruption in a government-run health-care system?

#13
BD
URL
March 9, 2009
06:16 PM

Kerty

because the principle behind the establishment of NHS is free at the point of delivery.

As I suggested, you might want to read up on the funding aspects of NHS. Even the wiki article is a good starting point.

While the NICE system provides an economic rationale for judging medication and treatments, I believe that this basis is unclear and unfavourable for provision of wheelchairs for children.

#14
kerty
March 9, 2009
07:04 PM

BD

WiKI: "The National Health Service (NHS) is the name of the publicly funded healthcare systems in England (though the term is also used to refer to the four national health services in the UK, collectively). The NHS provides healthcare to anyone normally resident in the United Kingdom with most services free at the point of use for the patient though there are charges associated with eye tests, dental care, prescriptions, and many aspects of personal care."

So it is a government-run, government/tax-funded health-care system. I have not claimed it to be otherwise. Is there anything more to it? What am I missing?

#15
BD
URL
March 10, 2009
01:36 AM

yep, that's the system. So now you see that its publicly funded and that's where the issue is?

#16
Kerty
March 10, 2009
02:05 AM

BD

You don't see any issue with publicly funded health care system? That is communist model - it confiscates money from people to take care of other people, it is redistributive, punitive, it kills motivation, incentives, efficiency, it promotes freeloaders and corruption. Why would you expect it to be any better? These welfare nanny states are throwback to colonial era when they could rob the world to pay for it, but now they have to rob their own tax payers to keep it up, and no amount of taxpayer base can prove enough in a freeloader system, so it must cut corners, prioritize, make the needy stand in line and wait for their turn. If you jump the line, you would always be tripping over many other needy waiting ahead of you. In a communist model, nobody wins, there are only losers.

#17
Ruvy
URL
March 10, 2009
03:22 AM

BD,

I guess we see things from two different points of view. You worry about principle I worry about what works.

Example: A man wants to move to an apartment, but the landlord wants a guarantor, and the man can't provide one. So he goes to the social worker and the social worker gets a guarantor - a rabbi writes a conditional check to cover the rent if it isn't paid.

Bottom line. The man who couldn't get the apartment is not homeless, the landlord has a guarantor. The rabbi can turn to the community at large to cover the cost if necessary. The solution works, BD.

If you want solutions to a problem, you need to figure them out, and think outside the box. Israel's health delivery system is first class - better than the American one, and evidently better than the British one, because they don't stand on principle - they do what works.

#18
Amitabh Mitra
URL
March 10, 2009
11:36 AM

We give basic wheel chairs and walking aids in a day, no problem

#19
BD
URL
March 10, 2009
05:42 PM

Kerty #16, curious, very curious, where on earth have you actually identified a purely private health care system?

would love to hear about that mythical example, lol, because from what I have found, there is no healthcare system anywhere in the world (perhaps with the exception of failed states such as Somalia - even they have some public healthcare in Puntland).

And no, I dont see any issue with a publicly funded healthcare model because that system actually is better. If you want to again check the efficacy, do find out the WHO review of healthcare systems and then find out which systems are publicly funded and which ones arent.

But, lets hear your fully private model :)

#20
BD
URL
March 10, 2009
05:57 PM

Ruvy

I am sorry, but you obviously have not reviewed the WHO healthcare comparisons. the United Kingdom's healthcare system is rated to be much higher than the USA and Israel's. I really wouldnt get on the high horse, mate, far too many healthcare indicators tell me otherwise. Here's something that you can use to check this out.

http://www.who.int/whosis/en/

Second, if you do have a publicly funded system, then principles do matter. After all, this is about getting something that works. I am not really very sure why you would talk about principles being wrong. Principles are what makes a society just and equitable, otherwise its a free for all.

Just like Israel has a principle of basic service provision which is publicly funded, I am proposing that provision of motorised (Amitabh, manual wheelchairs is available, motorised ones are the issue) wheelchairs be provided on a public basis.

See what I mean by principles? You have a principles based healthcare system, so do we. We are talking coverage here and that's very pragmatic.

#21
kerty
March 10, 2009
07:32 PM

BD

"curious, very curious, where on earth have you actually identified a purely private health care system?"

We currently do not have it. Collectivism has hijacked the health-care system and made it impossible to have one. And that is why all collectivist health care systems(state-run or insurance-run) are in a mess they are in, beyond cure - they can't be liberated by privately funded system. When world is going thru debates to reform these over-saturated collectivist systems, last thing we need is glossy packaging of same failed systems.

I do not consider WHO as the authority or last word on health care systems.

#22
BD
URL
March 11, 2009
01:41 AM

So we currently do not have it. Kerty. But here's an idea for you, publicly funded healthcare systems are but a recent innovation across the world, hardly 60-80 years of age.

Why dont you find out how the purely privately funded national heathcare systems worked prior to the roll-out of public healthcare systems, plonk in some adjustment factors which you will need, and then let us know how medical statistics were better in private funded land?

Second, I hear you that you dont consider WHO as the authority. In which case, can you point me to the direction of which study/body you are using to compare national health care systems?

#23
Kerty
March 11, 2009
03:02 AM

BD

Why would you go back 70-80 years to compare a current system with some pre-historic system? You have to compare how well other fields that are not subjected to collectivism have done during the same 70-80 year time period - example agriculture, transportation, IT, textile, housing etc. They all have made great strides and still retained low cost structure, accessibility, private pay-as-you-go affordability.

About unbiased comparing of National health care systems, each system have their advocates and defenders. So preference for any system is a matter of ideology. In America conservatives would laugh at UK's nationalized system, while liberals would praise Canadian system as a better system. Michael Moore thinks Cuba has a better system than USA. There can be no consensus on set of parameters to use for comparing the systems and how one system is better over the others. And if some agency or authority is coming up with comparison studies, they would be comparing apples and oranges, with liberal doze of ideology thrown in the equations. The UN agency studies, liberal think-tank studies, conservative think-tank studies would never match in their findings.

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