I've been reflecting further on the post BELOW on my blood-sugar machine. Oscar Wilde once said that a cynic is someone "who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing". We in Britain take for granted that our healthcare is provided free at the point of delivery. When I got my True Track monitor and the testing strips to go with it, I'm rather ashamed to say that it never occurred to me how much it cost. The gadget itself is about £15, and the strips, I found out yesterday, cost about 26p each. I'm using four a day. Now that's not a huge amount in itself, but when you add on the cost of the pills I am taking it will come to quite a lot over a month.
I wonder whether doctors should be mandated to give the patient a costing of what their treatment actually costs. We may value our treatment, but we should also know how much it is costing the NHS to provide it.
The NHS Blog Doctor has THIS post, which tells me that, as a diabetic, I now get free prescriptions for life, and I can get free supplies of Viagra. Well that's certainly perked me up. He also says...
Take look at Diabetes.co.uk, a thoroughly excellent site, essential reading for all diabetics. They review various testing systems here. But notice there is no talk of vulgar things like money. No mention of cost. It does not matter. The taxpayer picks up the tab. In the US, TrueTrack are cost conscious; they are in competition with many other manufacturers and do their best to keep prices down. If they do not, they go out of business.According to the Journal of Public Health (here), in 2004 the British Taxpayer spent just under £6 million on glucose monitoring equipment and that annual cost is doubling every three years.
When I was first diagnosed my GP explained about how diabetes causes arteries to fur up, which can lead to a much higher risk of strokes and heart attacks. She said the aim now was to unfur the arteries - and then as an aside she added that this would lead to much better erections. Nice weather today, I said, looking at the floor in a typically British fashion. Still, what better incentive could there be to get one's blood-sugar levels down!
As someone said in the comments, it does seem rather odd that I, as a diabetic, could get a free prescription of Viagra (believe me, it's not something I shall be taking advantage of [enough - ed]) and yet someone with erectile disfunction has to pay for it. Very strange priorities. I wonder what Dr Ruth would say.
Note: For the uninitiated, Dr Ruth was famous in the 1990s for her sex therapy advice. She was a regular on the Clive James show and became known for the rather strange way she pronounced the word 'erection'. Think hebrew.