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Flu: US vs. the UK Who wins? October 29, 2009

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Healthonymous.
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Brits 1 US  0.

In this post, I am comparing Flu.gov to the National Pandemic Flu Service websites. You may recall my post on the Flu Friend program provided by the NHS in the U.K.

If you live in America, you can visit Flu.gov and use a “Self-Assessment” tool, which is for “informational purposes only”.  It is not a substitute for your health care provider or your insurance company, that would interfere with the “free market” or some such thing.

Bottom line-you can check your symptoms and then what? It says to:

  • Call your Doctor
  • Go to a walk-in clinic
  • Call 911

But if you visit the UK site called the National Pandemic Flu Service, it is a different story. Their purpose is different:

This service will assess the patient’s symptoms and, if required, provide an authorisation number, which can be used in England to collect antivirals from a local Antiviral Collection Point. (also known as a pharmacy in the patient’s neighborhood)

(It’s good in all of the UK-just localized by England, Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland.)

The site lets you know that you will need to know 4 things about the patient. (There is a culture difference-in America it is a self-evaluation with only two questions for the individual. In the UK, they understand that someone else might be caring for you).  I could not go further in the assessment because I could not state that I was in the UK and might have the flu or be caring for someone who might have the flu.

The UK wins hands down-plus for the web-phobic you can call a number staffed by live people and they might also give you that ID code for anti-virals-in other words they do diagnose over the telephone.. One of the anti-virals  is Tamiflu. About $10 per dose- in the US.

[picapp src=”0/a/d/1/Demand_Increases_For_2b53.jpg?adImageId=6964235&imageId=4663486″ width=”234″ height=”152″ /]

So in the UK, the system is designed for the convenience of the patient, and here, for the convenience of whom?

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