[August 9, 2007 @ 10:11 pm] David Hogberg

From Britain:

Every one of Britain’s specialist trauma beds is full, which means some patients can wait up to three weeks after their accident before badly broken bones can be repaired. The delay, says Mr Bircher, can jeopardise recovery. With nothing but praise for frontline staff, he says patients who have been critically injured in road or other accidents have to wait an average of 12 days – often in agonising pain – before they can receive the vital specialist treatment.

Also from Britain:

Thousands of arthritis sufferers will be denied treatment with proven benefits by a decision not to pay for a new drug.

Guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the watchdog that controls access to drugs on the NHS, will recommend today that the drug does not represent value for money, although it has been shown to improve dramatically the severest symptoms of arthritis in almost half of patients….

Abatacept, which has the brand name Orencia, is the latest of a new generation of drugs to be blocked by NICE on the ground that it is not cost-effective.

About 400,000 people in the UK have rheumatoid arthritis, of whom a tenth (40,000) have a severe form. Many benefit from a class of drugs called anti-TNFs but about a third do not. This group, of around 12,000 patients, could potentially benefit from new drugs such as abatacept. Its manufacturer, Bristol Myers Squibb, estimated in its application to NICE that around 3,500 patients a year would benefit.

The Land Down Under also has some problems:

STAFF at one of Queensland’s biggest hospitals are being told to reject sick, elderly people transferring from nursing homes, and hastily discharge all other patients….

A day earlier, a report found almost 144,000 Queenslanders were waiting to see a specialist. Some patients’ files were marked “never” to see a specialist.

Other recent health problems have included a dire shortage of radiographers, with cancer victims forced to wait long times for treatment; and diagnostic equipment being shut down.

And remember all those lefties claiming that waiting lists in Canada are exaggerated? Well, looks like a study in Health Affairs suggests that Canada doesn’t do a very good job at measuring wait times:

The research, published in the journal Health Affairs, suggests that Canada needs to undertake some major policy initiatives if it wants to seriously improve access to care, including:

– Developing national standards for measuring and reporting waiting times;

– Measuring the total patient waiting time – beginning with referral from a family physician, to consultation with a specialist, through to treatment. (Currently, waiting times are measured from consultation with a specialist to surgery.)

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