Here is one of the ways in which you would be better treated in an American (and doubtless also a Japanese, German, French or Swiss) hospital for heart disease than you would be in Britain. In America and, I suspect, the other countries mentioned, you might get a scan with a 64 slice CT scanner that will show quickly - and without ill effect on you - just how bad your arteries may be obstructed.
In Britain, you have a much lower chance of having access to this scanner.
The Daily Telegraph today carries a report that the 64-CT scanner has been shown as effective in revealing coronary disease as the traditional, much more invasive method. The chances of anyone surviving heart disease depends crucially on being assessed quickly and effectively and then getting an operation, if needed, quickly. But the process of assessing the disease is bound to be hindered in an medical system which does not have the use of 64-CT scanners.
I saw such a scanner at the Mercy Hospital in Miami about four years ago. It had been installed the day I arrived. That was the only hospital in America that I visited and it had the new scanner. There must have been many such machines even at that time. I looked up to find how many hospitals in Britain had it then. The answer appeared to be only one.
Now, according the Telegraph, still "only a handful" of these scanners are in British hospitals. I wonder how many that means? Is it five, perhaps? Clearly nothing like enough to scan more than a small fraction of those with heart disease.
I am afraid this is another example of the way in which the treatment you are likely to receive in Britain is years behind what you would expect in America and in other countries which have systems of medical care that use up-to-date equipment.
It is worrying that Americans still apparently think that the NHS may be a model worth following. It would be useful to see an estimate of how many people in Britain die prematurely of heart disease each year because of the inferior diagnosis and treatment here. We have such an estimate for cancer from Professor Sikora (10,000).
Incidentally, the 64-CT scanner has other important uses as well.
The Telegraph article is here.
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