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      英語世界
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      What It’s Like When You’re an American Using Britain’s NHS
      發布時間:2018年05月01日     葛玉芳 譯  
      來源: 英語世界
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      What It’s Like When You’re an American Using Britain’s NHS

      美國人在英國如何看病


      By Jim Edwards

      文/吉姆·愛德華茲


      I’ve spent half my life in the US and half of it in the UK, so I’m used to both countries’ healthcare systems. I recently returned to London after 20 years in America, and after a few doctors’ appointments I’ve come to see the NHS through American eyes.


      這么多年,我一半時間在美國,一半時間在英國,因此對兩國的醫療體系都很熟悉。在美國待了20年后,最近我回到了倫敦。體驗了幾次預約看病后,我可以從美國人的視角說說英國的醫療服務。


      The National Health Service is, as all Americans know and fear, a completely public “socialized medicine” system. It’s dramatically different from the US’s patchwork system of private providers and insurance companies.


      美國人盡皆知且深感惶恐的一點就是,英國國民醫療服務(以下簡稱NHS)是一個完全公共的“社會化醫療”系統。美國則完全不同,其醫療系統是由私立醫療服務機構和保險公司拼湊而成。


      I’ve now used both systems for about two decades each, so I feel I have a pretty good handle on the main contrasts.


      兩種醫療體系我各使用了將近20年,因此很清楚兩者之間的明顯差異。


      “This Rolls Royce isn’t moving fast enough!”

      這輛勞斯萊斯跑得不夠快!


      The context here is that the NHS just released its most recent stats on accident and emergency room waiting times. The headline number is that 84% of patients are seen within four hours. In the UK, this is regarded as a huge failure – the standard the NHS is supposed to meet is 95% of patients in four hours. The UK media went into a fury about it, and some hospitals have begun postponing and rescheduling some non-emergency procedures in order to get those waiting times down. In the US, having sat in many an ER waiting room for hours at a stretch, the idea of a hospital seeing nearly 9 out of 10 patients in four hours would be regarded as a miracle. Bear in mind that within that four-hour period the NHS doctors are triaging[1] patients: If you get hit by a bus, you’re going to see someone instantly. If you broke a finger because you fell over while drunk at the pub, you’re probably going to wait at the back of the line. It’s not like people are literally bleeding to death while they wait for attention (although the British media loves it when it finds individual cases where that has happened).


      這里說的是NHS剛剛發布了急診室等候時間最新數據,總體數據顯示,84%的病人能在4小時內得到治療。這在英國人看來是一個巨大的失敗——NHS制定的標準是95%的急診病人在4小時內看上病。英國媒體對此怒不可遏,一些醫院于是開始將一些不緊急的診療推遲或改期以減少就診等待時間。在美國,我有過多次在急診候診室一連等待好幾個小時的經歷,聽到有醫院在4小時內為十之八九的病人診治,簡直像聽到了奇跡。別忘了在那4個小時里,NHS的醫生還要對患者進行鑒別分類:你如果是被汽車撞了,能夠立即得到診治;而要是你在酒吧因為醉酒跌倒而摔斷了手指,那可能只能排在后面了。這并不是說病人在候診時真的會流血致死(盡管英國媒體總是熱衷于報道這樣的個案)。


      [1] 源自triage:患者鑒別分類;治療類選法〔根據緊迫性和救活的可能性等在戰場上決定哪些人優先治療的方法〕。


      So my overall impression is that currently, the Brits’ complaints that the NHS isn’t hitting that 95% mark is akin to saying, “This Rolls Royce isn’t moving fast enough!”

      所以,我的總體印象是,英國人抱怨NHS沒有達成95%這個標準,就類似于有人說“這輛勞斯萊斯跑得不夠快!”


      Show up when you’re told to – or else.

      規定時間就醫——不然另約。


      The first major difference from the patient’s point of view is what happens when you call your doctor for a routine appointment. My specific health issue was that I thought I was going slightly deaf, and wanted it checked out. I’m a dual US/UK citizen, so I qualify for NHS treatment. Here’s what happened to me.


      從病人的角度看,兩種系統的最大差異首先就體現在電話約診的流程上。以我為例,我之所以想看病是感覺耳朵有點聽不清,想檢查一下。我有美國、英國雙重國籍,所以有資格獲得NHS的治療。以下是我的親身經歷:


      In America, you call your doctor and request an appointment when it’s convenient for you. They might ask you what’s wrong with you, presumably to make sure it’s not something that requires immediate treatment. But basically, it’s first come, first served, regardless of how important it is. Usually, you can pick an appointment time that’s convenient for you if it is not an emergency.


      在美國,你打電話給醫生,并根據自己方便的時間與醫生預約。對方可能會問你哪里不舒服,想必是為了確認是否需要立即治療。但總的來說,無論病情如何,還是遵循“先約診先治療”的原則。通常,只要不是緊急狀況,你都可以約在自己方便的時間去看病。


      In the UK, I was given an appointment whether I liked it or not. I called and leave a message. Within an hour or two a nurse practitioner called me back and asked me a few questions about my problem over the phone. Then they said: Come in at 9am on Thursday. There was no choice over appointment times – the assumption is that if you’re ill, you’re going to come to the doctor when they say.


      在英國,預約就診時間由診所指定,患者不能隨意選擇。我打電話并留了言。一兩個小時之內,一位執業護士回電,在電話里就我的病情問了幾個問題。然后對方說:周四早上9點過來。預約時間沒有選擇的余地——他們的假設是如果你病了,就會按醫生給定的時間去看病。


      At first I found this jarring. In America, I get to choose when I see the doctor! In Britain, I better show up when I’m told. But the appointment came quickly, as the local health authority in London has targets it needs to meet. Ultimately, I saw the logic of it: This is a public health system. It needs to manage its costs and services. If you’re really sick, you’ll show up. If you only want to show up when it’s convenient for your schedule, then how sick are you, really?


      一開始我很震驚。在美國,什么時間去看病由我自己選擇!在英國我卻必須在指定的時間看病。但是很快就安排我就診了,因為倫敦當地的衛生部門有其需要完成的診療目標。最終,我明白了其中的邏輯:這是一個公共醫療系統,其成本和服務都需要管理。如果你真的病了,就會及時就診。如果只想在自己方便的時間去看醫生,那你大概病得沒那么重吧?


      America is worse at on-the-day care.

      美國的就診體驗較差。


      In America, I’ve always had a long wait to see my doctor. I have read many a back issue[2] of Newsweek in my primary care[3] / general practitioner (GP) doctor’s office. I’ve sat there for an hour playing with my phone while the doc sees patients in the order they were booked.


      在美國,候診時間總是很長。我在初級保健/全科醫生辦公室里讀了很多份《新聞周刊》的過刊;在醫生按照預約順序為病人一一診治的時候,我坐在那兒玩了一小時手機。


      [2] back issue 過期的報紙或雜志。

       

      [3] primary care初級保健。初級保健醫生又稱全科醫生(general practitioner),區別于??漆t生(specialist)。


      In the UK, I showed up at 9am and was seen instantly, at the Waterloo Health Centre. For an American, this was bizarre: My butt barely touched the seat in the waiting room before my name was called. Turns out my doc and her staff are serious about patient scheduling.


      在英國,我早上9點到達滑鐵盧健康中心,立即就診。對一個美國人來說這簡直異乎尋常:我剛進候診室坐下,就被喊去見醫生了。這說明我的醫生和她的團隊對病人的約診很重視。


      This was one reason I became convinced that the NHS way of scheduling is superior: You might not get the time or date that you want, but once you’re in, you get seen super-quick.


      我確信NHS的約診服務更勝一籌,這就是其中一個原因:你可能約不到自己想要的時間,但是一旦預約了,就能超快看上病。

      There is basically no paperwork with the NHS.

      NHS幾乎不用處理文書。


      There is a load of paperwork for patients in the US. This is easily the worst aspect of US healthcare – the billing paperwork. If you’ve ever had any health issue that required more than a simple doctor visit, you will know that it precipitates[4] a seemingly never-ending series of forms, bills, and letters. You can be paying bills months, years later. And it’s almost impossible to correct a billing error. It’s stressful. I developed an intense hatred for health insurance companies in the US because of this.


      在美國,病人要應付很多表單。處理表單無疑是美國醫療體系最糟糕的一個環節。如果你曾因為某個健康問題不止一次去看醫生,就會發現突然需要沒完沒了地填表格、處理賬單和信函,可能數月甚至數年之后還在付賬單。此外,賬單上的錯誤幾乎不可能修改。這壓力簡直太大了,我因此十分痛恨美國的健康保險公司。


      [4] precipitate 使突然陷入(某種狀態);使突然發生。


      There was close to zero paperwork in the NHS. I filled in a form telling my doc who I was and where I lived, and that was pretty much it. The only other paperwork I got was a letter in the mail reminding me of my next appointment. They sent me a text reminder, too, which no American doc has ever done. It was incredibly refreshing.


      NHS則幾乎沒有文書工作。我只填寫了一張表,告訴醫生我的姓名和地址,基本上就沒事了。唯一收到的文書就是一封信,提醒我不要忘記下次約診。此外,他們還發了一條短信提醒,美國醫生從來沒有這么做過,這簡直令人耳目一新。


      A long wait for NHS treatment...

      NHS預約排隊時間長……


      I then made an appointment with a specialist at the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London. In the US, I’ve always been able to see a specialist within a few days. Score one for America. In the UK, they said “we’ll see you in January.” It was late November, six weeks or more away. This was a shock.


      我當時預約了倫敦蓋伊和圣托馬斯醫院的一位??漆t生。在美國,總能在預約后幾天之內見到一位??漆t生。為美國加一分。而在英國,對方會說“您1月過來吧”,其時是11月底,到1月還有6個多星期。我驚呆了。


      I comforted myself with the assumption that the staff had made a decision that my condition was likely not life- or health- threatening, and had moved me to the back of the line. It was frustrating. Ultimately, I also needed to change my appointment because I had to leave the country on business, and this was quite difficult to do. I had to call a few times, basically to catch the hospital booking staff at the right time of day, in order to do it. I wished Guy’s and St. Thomas’ had an online system for this, but they don’t – just a bunch of people answering phones, most of whom don’t have access to the right appointment schedule.


      可能工作人員認定我的情況不會危及生命或影響健康,所以把我往后排了——我用這樣一種假設安慰自己,卻還是有點失望。最終,由于要到國外出差,我還是得修改預約時間,而改時間非常困難。我不得不打了好幾次電話,主要就為掐準時間正好找到醫院預約人員。我多希望蓋伊和圣托馬斯醫院能有一個線上預約系統,但他們沒有——他們只有一群接電話的人,而且大多數手上都沒有正確的預約日程表。


      It was that appointment system again: You’re booked in according to their priority, not yours. The big lesson with the NHS is, it’s a lot easier to just show up when you’re told.


      所以,最后還是預約系統的問題:要根據他們的安排而非你想的時間約診。在NHS體制中看病,我所學到的重要一點就是,要在醫院給你約定的時間去看病,這樣一切都會簡單得多。


      The cost to the patient is much cheaper in the UK, obviously.

      顯然,在英國看病花費少得多。


      So how much did all this NHS care cost me? £0. Nothing. Zero. I paid not a penny for some top-notch healthcare. There is no such thing as a “free,” of course, but the per-capita cost of healthcare in the UK (paid by the government via tax collections) is generally lower than the US, according to the World Health Organization. Americans spend $8,362 per capita on healthcare annually, the Brits spend $3,480. Here is a breakdown[5]:


      那么,這次在NHS看病,花了我多少錢?0英鎊,一點兒都沒花。哪怕是一些一流的醫療服務,我也一分錢沒花。當然,沒有什么“免費”一說。但世界衛生組織的數據顯示,英國人均醫療開支(由政府通過稅收支付)通常低于美國。美國年人均醫療開銷為8362 美元,而英國為3480美元。且看價格明細:


      [5] breakdown 細目。


      NHS prices

      · Doctor visit: £0

      · Specialist: £0

      · Diagnostic test: £0

      · MRI: £0

      · Total: £0


      NHS價目

      · 門診掛號費:0英鎊

      · ??漆t生掛號費:0英鎊

      · 診斷性檢查:0英鎊

      · 核磁共振:0英鎊

      · 總計:0英鎊


      Typical US prices

      · Doctor visit: $100

      · Specialist: $150

      · Hearing test: $72

      · MRI: $1,000

      · Total: $1,322 (Total payable by the patient in cash, or typically 90% from insurance and 10% as a patient copay[6].)


      美國一般價目

      · 門診掛號費:100美元

      · ??漆t生掛號費:150美元

      · 聽覺檢查:72美元

      · 核磁共振:1000美元

      · 總計:1322美元(患者可用現金全額支付,或者選擇90% 保險加10%自付。)


      [6] = copayment 共付額,指被保險人用于就醫或配藥所支付的固定費用。


      (譯者單位:北京航空航天大學外國語學院)

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