I’m John Crisford, director at Sherwood Healthcare, independent specialists and health insurance advisers. Each month I will bring you the latest UK and global news stories related to health. The stories that I think will be of interest to you personally, professionally and for business. I aim to write about the latest health matters, things that are about to happen, items that are making a difference and importantly create a conversation with you; I want to share knowledge and ideas. So, to kick off here are two stories that have caught my attention:
Martha Lane Fox, the UK’s Digital Champion believes cyberspace can be good for our health, and says the internet and mobile phones will be able to transform patients’ treatments. The Department of Health has launched a consultation process of how information and technology can help people take more control of their health, and make the best choices for themselves and their families. It will look at patients being able to view and share their medical records more easily, email their doctors and access relevant, accurate, user-friendly information. So a patient needing cancer surgery will be able to compare the results of all cancer surgery consultant teams in England and choose between them. Personally, I believe this is a good thing, as a recent YouGov poll found that 40 per cent believe the NHS can learn from the services offered by supermarkets, banks and utility companies! This also says to me that the public wants to see more innovation from the NHS and expectations are racing ahead; people want a better service.
This story reminds me of why I am in medical insurance. Growing up and then with my own family I have personally experienced and seen how ill-health can affect those we love and care about. I have used the NHS service and I believe in it; but I know the NHS is limited in what it can offer us. When the NHS was set up in 1948, it was only ever intended to provide a standard level of healthcare for us all and today, through my work as a specialist health insurance adviser it seems an increasing number of the British public want something more than the NHS can currently provide for; such as access to clean hospitals, no mixed wards, convenience and crucially a gold star treatment.
The other news item that I want to share with you is that while in the UK the government is going to be winding down the NHS Direct website, across the Atlantic starting soon is a new site called Sharecare.com, which will be an interactive social Q & A platform, providing people with what they want to know on health. Content on the site will come from organisations like the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Johns Hopkins and medical professionals.I would like to know your thoughts on either of these two topics, or anything else that you may have heard and would like to share; and if you would like to get in-touch please do. Till next month…I leave you with this thought that I recently read, ‘if you trust Google more than your doctor, then maybe it is time to switch doctors.’
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