Saturday, May 13, 2006

Sickness as Sin

I have been straying from the thought experiments theme, so, luckily, two just came to me. A GP once told me that 90 per cent of the people who came through his door were either not sick or suffering from something he could do nothing about - say, a cold or flu. I think the problem is that, in childhood, many people are rewarded for being sick. I was and, as a result, I often feel ill for no particular reason, probably out of self-pity. The reward in the NHS is free treatment and a conversation with a nice doctor plus all those interesting magazines in the waiting room. We should switch this round and punish children for being ill, making it clear that this is a shameful state to be in. In later life, they would be ashamed to go to the doctor. If that GP was right, this will not make a bit of difference to the actual health of the nation and it would lower health care costs enormously. So what if sickness were a sin?

4 comments:

  1. Are you serious? This is completely inhuman.

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  2. Why yes Hans, that's the beauty of it.
    Personally, though, I cannot understand how anyone cld take any pleasure in visiting the average GP in the average surgery - I certainly don't (even tho I seem to have a tiny batsqueak flirtation going on with her). In my experience most men are life-threateningly reluctant to see a doctor - tho perhaps not averse to laying it on at home in the hope that their womenfolk might conceivably notice and respond appropriately (ha!). I fear the 'worried well' syndrome is, like so much else in this baffling world, a woman thing. Women are ill, it's what they do.
    Nige

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  3. david (who has nothing better to do)June 14, 2006 10:00 pm

    Belatedly...

    Some years ago while involved in sending lab results back to GPs electronically (PMIP-Pathology Messaging Implementation Project, unfortunately usually referred locally as 'PIMP') one GP rejected it totally - it robbed him of one of his key clinical tools - time. Samples were taken and patient told to come back in a week for the results. Most never did as symptoms/conditions resolved themselves without intervention. Sending results back within hours imposed an obligation to confer with patient probably unneccessarily.

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  4. Clear evidence from an expert (apparently). People are only sick if you ask them and reward them

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