- Growing numbers of patients are paying for private treatment to beat rationing and delays for treatment imposed by the cash-strapped National Health Service. A report reveals that people who do not have health insurance are increasingly paying up to £14,880 for operations such as a hip or knee replacement or cataract removal.
- New research reveals that general practitioners are not bothering to persuade cancer patients to give up smoking despite quitters enjoying double the life expectancy.
- National Health Service leaders believe that computers could start diagnosing patients’ illnesses within the next few years as artificial intelligence increasingly ousts doctors from their traditional roles.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 15th of September 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News
Growing numbers of patients are paying for private treatment to beat rationing and delays for treatment imposed by the cash-strapped National Health Service. People who do not have health insurance are increasingly paying up to fourteen thousand eight hundred eighty eight pounds for operations such as a hip or knee replacement or cataract removal, a report reveals.
Profit-driven hospital firms are experiencing fifteen to twenty five percent year-on-year rises in the number of uninsured “self-payers”, with the increase mainly driven by long waiting times to undergo non-urgent surgery in NHS hospitals. Patients are using their savings or taking out loans to pay for their treatment. The biggest increases have been in those paying for procedures to relieve disabling conditions, interventions that are increasingly hard for people in England to obtain on the NHS without a long wait.
According to the report, providers have noted a direct correlation at a local level between reported excessive waiting times for surgery and demand for self-pay surgery. The total number of patients in England waiting for planned hospital care within the maximum eighteen weeks guaranteed under the Referral to Treatment scheme exceeded four million in July for the first time in decade, soon after NHS England and ministers controversially relaxed the target.
There has also been a rise in those paying for private cancer care in the wake of NHS England cutting the number of drugs it pays for under the Cancer Drugs Fund.
The Department of Health said: “The number of people with private medical insurance is lower now than it was eight years ago and the NHS continues to treat more than nine out of ten patients within eighteen weeks.
New research reveals that general practitioners are not bothering to persuade cancer patients to give up smoking despite quitters enjoying double the life expectancy. A study by Oxford University found family doctors were almost twice as likely to offer cessation advice to people diagnosed with coronary heart disease as they were to lung cancer patients, both smoking-related conditions. The data emerged as a related investigation found that lung cancer patients who quit upon diagnoses live for an average of nearly two years, compared to just over one if they carried on smoking.
Approximately forty six thousand people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK each year, making up thirteen per cent of all cancer diagnoses, and fewer than ten per cent survive for five years. Roughly a third of patients were smoking at diagnosis, according to the study by the University of Birmingham, and those who stopped and survived their treatment lived on average for one point ninety seven years, compared with one point zero eight years for those who carried on. An analysis of GP records between nineteen ninety nine and two thousand thirteen indicated that twenty four per cent of cancer patients were offered help quitting, compared to forty eight per cent with coronary heart disease. Doctor Amanda Farley, from the University of Birmingham, said: ‘This research indicates that it is never too late to quit smoking.
National Health Service leaders believe that computers could start diagnosing patients’ illnesses within the next few years as artificial intelligence increasingly ousts doctors from their traditional roles. The NHS’s top doctor said that machines may soon be able to read X-rays and analyse samples of diseased tissue, such as lumps that can indicate the presence of breast cancer.
NHS England plans to invest more of its one hundred twenty billion pound budget in AI to speed up its application to medicine and the health service, especially the task of analysing “huge swaths” of the information collected from patients about their symptoms.
Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, quoted a recent Lancet editorial on how greater use of Artificial Intelligence could lead to “big shifts” in radiology and pathology from doctors to machines. There is emerging evidence from around the world that machines can help identify patients who have autism or Alzheimer’s disease. Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, said computers could be routinely diagnosing health conditions – even before they display symptoms – by the time the NHS turns eighty in two thousand twenty eight.