A new study by Britain's National Audit Office reports that patients suffering from agonizingly painful rheumatoid arthritis are having to wait an average of nine months to receive treatment. Apparently the fact that UK health guidelines specifically state that no patient should wait for treatment longer than three months following initial symptoms is not enough to speed up the process. "On average it takes four visits before a patient is referred to a specialist for diagnosis and treatment."That sounds pretty bad, however, if you read the Daily Mail article, you find that a big part of the problem is that people don’t seek treatment quickly enough. “[P]atients do not know enough about the condition, and therefore delay going to see their GP. Between half and three-quarters of people with symptoms wait more than three months before seeking medical help, and about a fifth delay for a year or more.” Contrary to the Townhall blog, no one is having to wait. Most of the patients don't get treatment within the recommended time because they don't seek it.
The part about it taking four visits sounds bad though. Surely things are better in the United States than in Britain. Not according to the Arthritis Foundation in the United States: "Diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis is a process. There isn’t a sure-fire test that can tell you positively that you have RA. Instead your doctor relies on a number of tools to help him determine the best treatment for your symptoms." Apparently, even doctors in the United States often have to consider the patient’s symptoms at more than one visit.
One conservative blogger I follow found evidence that doctors are poorly trained in the statement that "GPs lack the specialist knowledge required to diagnose the condition quickly." Isn't that what makes the general practitioners rather than specialist? GP's have general knowledge and specialists have specialist knowledge.
What you have here is right wingers assuming that the only possible explanation for people having health problems in Britain is the failure of socialized medicine without actually reading and understanding the article they cite.