jump to navigation

Swine Flu Treatment US vs. UK. Round Two November 16, 2009

Posted by Admin in Healthonymous, huh?.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Hmmm. My friend in the UK, who was a “Flu Friend” last month? This month, she is the one who needed a “Flu Friend”. (search flu in the tags to the right to read that post) Yup-she has the swine flu.

[picapp src=”9/5/6/5/Gordon_Brown_Visits_4562.jpg?adImageId=7513248&imageId=4695661″ width=”380″ height=”521″ /]

One of her parents noted to me that the approaches are different across the pond. The UK geared up to treat people who came down with the H1N1 flu. The US is all in a tizzy over getting the vaccine to its citizens, and to prevent H1N1 flu from happening to us.

The UK has lots of doses of Tamiflu and a great plan to keep sick people at home, while they get the treatment they need to get better. They have a plan in the meantime to treat people who are actually sick.

The US doesn’t have enough vaccine; and people are standing in line to get it, when it comes in. Wall Street firms have gotten doses, but I have no idea when I can get mine.  And I don’t work for Wall Street anymore. Maybe my stock broker has some-I’ll have to see if a secondary market for that or Tamiflu has sprung up.

UK 2, US 0.

Barbara Ehrenreich had an essay published on the CBS website back on 11-4-09, which is where the next numbers come from. [120] to 160 million doses were promised to the government in July by the 5 private manufacturers of the vaccine and only 28 million had been delivered by Halloween. [Another news source said 38 million  were delivered] Something about the eggs. Apparently the alternative ways of growing the cell cultures were not used and they are faster.

Another WordPress blog has a post on the shortage. That writer  said only 13 million doses were available on October 20, 2009. Clearly there are some issues with the numbers!

The two approaches of the UK vs. the US are not right or wrong, said my friend, they are just different. But I wonder… (more…)

Advertisements

A Flu Friend in the UK-How the NHS Fights the Swine Flu October 15, 2009

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance.
Tags: , , , , ,
3 comments

Remember the song, “You’ve Got a Friend”? The UK has a swine flu readiness plan that calls for the patient to have a “flu friend” to help out. How does this really work?  The story broke this summer, but a friend of mine was just recently called to serve. Here’s the story, as told to me:

“The UK has a nationwide readiness plan for the pandemic. If you think you have swine flu then you call a 24 hour hotline or go to the NHS website where you either fill out a form yourself or get talked through one on the phone. The questionnaire goes through your symptoms and if you hit enough of them you are considered to have swine flu.

[picapp src=”1/e/d/8/The_Post_Office_b568.jpg?adImageId=6138579&imageId=4722834″ width=”234″ height=”310″ /]You are then given an ID number and the address of the nearest pharmacy stocking Tamiflu. The sick person is not meant to leave their house but instead supposed to get a “flu friend” to run errands for them. The flu friend goes to the pharmacy and takes along the poorly person’s ID, proof of address, and ID number from the website/phone call as well as their own ID.

So I went to the pharmacy, said “Hi, I’m here to get Tamiflu for my friend?” Handed over the various ID’s and whatnot that went on to another form and 10 minutes later got the Tamiflu. For free. [emphasis added]

This only works once, which is what all the ID’s and whatnot are for. There has been some hullabaloo about the fact that some boroughs have a lot more pharmacies stocking the drug or whatever but mine is one of the less supplied boroughs and that sure was easy. It was about a 9 minute walk from my friend’s house. The sick person doesn’t leave their home cutting down on spreading the flu, they don’t clog up their GP’s office, there *IS* a National readiness plan, and it is so well advertised that two not particularly observant college grads knew exactly what to do. Neither of us really read papers, we don’t have TV’s, I don’t listen to the radio- and yet we knew what to do.”

Let’s recap the benefits of the UK plan:

  • Effective marketing plan-but we don’t know what worked
  • Self diagnosis on web or via telephone to discern symptoms
  • Flu patient doesn’t have to leave home
  • Tamiflu available for pick up by the “flu friend” at a convenient neighborhood pharmacy
  • It’s free for the patient

To compare and contrast, I searched for 24 hour flu hotline that I could use in the US:

  • The local county number was a recording and referred me to my health care provider, unless I didn’t have insurance, in which case I could go to a clinic-where I would not have to reveal my immigration status. No live person at midnight.
  • The state number, staffed by a live person assured me that this number was only for institutions, not individuals.
  • The federal number (at the CDC), was staffed by another cheerful person, who indicated that” they did not diagnose over the phone”. Their suggestion was to contact my health care provider at midnight or to go to the emergency room. Emergency room for primary care? Right, that is SOP in this country. I could have called the “Nurse-Line” for my insurance plan, but have wisely decided to go to bed, as I don’t currently have the swine flu.

How exactly am I better off under this system? Hmmm.

  • ($100 co-pay for my insurance at least), plus the Tamiflu cost;
  • Inconvenient
  • Delays treatment or provides it at the highest possible marginal cost.

%d bloggers like this: