Sunday, 22 May 2016
Not a good argument Mr Gove
First Ukip puts out a party political broadcast telling all that watched (hopefully very few) how horrible we Turks are and now Michael Gove is using the highly unlikely possibility that Turkey will join the EU and thus flood the NHS as a reason to support Brexit.
As one mired in all things medical I can only say to Mr Gove that no sound minded Turk would exchange the Turkish health system for the NHS. His argument would have held water before the present government, when only the well off could afford good medical care in Turkey and the seriously wealthy and prime ministers would head off to the USA for their treatments and those without funds would sell all they had to pay for care. But now we have our own state supported health system which is available to any one who pays national insurance contributions or registers as too poor to be able to pay. (This system falls down when unscrupulous employers don't pay up, but everyone can check their status on line so at least be aware of their employers' misconduct)
We have always chosen to use and pay for private health care in Turkey and did so for my husband's first operation, but once the extent of his cancer became apparent we realised that we wouldn't be able to afford to carry on with private care and would have to continue with state funded care. At 2pm on Tuesday we were told that the tumour on my husband's lung was cancerous and we needed a pet scan to see if the cancer had spread, This was arranged for 9am the next morning in the private hospital in Istanbul and, as his cancer had been confirmed, the SGK state system would pick up the 3000 TL + bill. The next day after lunch, the consultant reviewed the scan and told us that chemo was the only option. I rang the Acıbadem Oncology Centre in Bodrum there and then, and was given an appointment for 11:30 the next day. We flew back to Bodrum and from then on have been patients in the SGK system but see no difference from privately paid care. This would have been unimaginable 12 years ago. The hospital building resembles a 5 star hotel. We have the mobile phone numbers of the head consultant, the assistant doctor and the head of nursing who encourage us to ring any time we have a qualm or questions. I suggest to Mr Gove that the NHS would not be able to match this speed in arranging treatment or the comfort of personal contact from caring professionals who do not hide in the system but are happy to communicate with their patients. We have not had to pay for any drugs, blood transfusions, consultant fees, tests, scans, prescriptions or even the vitamin drinks and food supplements and the peace of mind in knowing that everything is covered can not be overstressed.
Looking from the outside, commentators struggle to understand why the majority of voters support the present government, but I understand it completely. Only those with deep pockets would risk going back to the days when only the wealthy had access to good health care.