97. Healthcare

I, like many similar to me, have a saying: “see, told you so.”  We think we know it all, we think we have worked it all out before the authorities and we think we know who Roy Hodgson should have played behind Rooney in Euro 2012.  The truth is that we’re right more often than not.  As I have a deluded sense of grandeur about this website, I think that the authorities treat UAE Uncut as a source of reliable data, and that they use my opinions as a base for gauging public opinion.  I like to think that.  There have been many blog subjects that I have written about that within weeks have also appeared in the national media.  I sometimes think that it’s 1984 and that the Thought Police slip into my head each night to pick through my ideas…  Normally, I get there first.  But today, I’m beaten.

I’ve been wanting to write about hospitals for a while but something else always comes up instead, but today I have been forced into it.  I read today that excessive hospital visits are straining the UAE healthcare system. I fell back into my chair and said “see, told you so!”

In the UK we have something called the National Health Service.  It gets a bad press almost daily and that is a shame.  The NHS is a fantastic thing to have, it is free healthcare.  Free healthcare is the want and dream of billions world over and us grumpy Brits are up in arms every time we spot a Twix wrapper on the floor or an MSRA bug in the bin.  The NHS is strained and struggling for beds not because it’s evil and finds it funny, but because there are too many hypochondriacs rushing in because they have a splinter or because they’re 16 and have just necked a bottle of Jaegermeister.

My God man! Don’t scream just because you were asked to sweep up! Ok ok, have a day off work…

The same is true of the UAE.  Despite the fact that healthcare isn’t free, it is paid for by employers so as far as regular employees are concerned it is like the NHS; free healthcare.  There are a lot of hypochondriacs here in the UAE who think that having a bit of grit behind a finger nail means that you should get a week off work.  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say “my allergy”.  What allergy, an allergy of hard work?

So what happens is Johnny Hardworker heads to the Hospital, comes up with a story about being allergic to oxygen or work uniform, screams in agony for a few seconds and then winks at the attending physician.  They then agree that Johnny gets a day off work, and to be safe is prescribed some placebo just so the farce looks authentic.

I rarely go to the hospital, I will only go if I am violently ill and I don’t know what it is.  In one such case a few years ago I was vomiting all day, unable to stop.  Surprisingly it had nothing to do with alcohol.  When I saw the doctor and before I was asked any questions about my ailment at all, I was asked how many days I wanted off work.  I abruptly stated that I didn’t want any days off work and that I was here for a cure.  She looked surprised and proceeded to state the obvious.

It would appear that hospitals have a very poor screening process.  All they are, then, is a government building where you go to get an official letter dictating that you can have a day off work.  But this, as far as the overcrowding situation is concerned, is only half the problem.

Patients do not trust their healthcare professionals.  If the doctor tells them that they are suffering from scurvy or indeed that there is nothing wrong with them then they do not accept the analysis.  They then go and see another 3 or 4 doctors until they get an illness that they like.  I’m sorry, but if you go to a mainstream hospital, and there are plenty in the UAE, then I would be inclined to trust a doctor’s diagnosis.  They would have completed 7-8 years of med school and are bound to know a hell of a lot more than you.  Hell, I’d be inclined to say I would know more than you.

Such antics are putting an enormous strain on the healthcare system.  Every time a lazy employee with a work allergy walks into A&E looking like he’s been marinated in sulphuric acid he takes up to 2 hours of hospital time that could have been used to treat the poor person with cancer who has been made to wait on the floor.  Likewise when some ignorant cretin demands to see 64 doctors to hear the word “Flu” when all they have is a cold then they are putting genuine sick-cases at risk.

I have been racking my brains to try and find a solution and I’ll be honest, some of them are a bit over the top.  I thought about starting a fire in the hospital, so all of those fakers quickly show who they are and get out, but that leaves the real patients in a spot of bother.  Again, what about docking a day’s wages to those who take a day off work?  Well no, that’s not fair for those days when a decent employee is actually ill.  What about if the doctors are actually honest and thorough?  If someone says that they are having an allergic reaction to something and that you, after 8 years of medical school cannot see anything wrong, how about sending them for rabies cure?  You know the one where they put the massive needle into your stomach that hurts more than being eaten by a bear?  Again, it would waste precious hospital time.

Sadly you cannot change the human condition.  There are some who lie and some who just don’t get it, it has always been and will always be that way.  Maybe one day when they are genuinely really ill but cannot be seen by a doctor because he’s writing a phoney sick note they will realise the errors of their ways.  But by then it will be too late.

See, told you so.

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