LONDON (AFP)-Government cabinet ministers are rescuing Britain's National Health Service, the NHS, from its chronic cash problems with a new scheme that pushes patients out of their hospital rooms and forces them to treat themselves.
The "Expert Patient Program" has cut hospital stays by 96% by locking patients out and denying them basic access to GPs and specialists.
But the government is also encouraging such high-cost patients to make their own radiation treatment machines by rewiring their TV sets, and creating their own chemotherapy drugs out of common household chemicals.
Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt says these expert patients initiatives thereby reduce the demand for the most expensive form of treatment in hospitals, and allows doctors and bureaucrats more time to play golf, take vacations in the Med and to watch polo on the tube.
The program offers training guides for patients with chronic conditions such as brain, lung and liver cancer, diabetes, the pox, asthma, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, HIV, and bird, rat and weasel plague. The patients learn how to treat themselves at home when previously they would have gone to their doctor or the hospital accident and emergency department. They avoid such emergencies altogether by looking after themselves better.
Sandy Leucocyte, a 55 year old mother of seven in Birmingham who suffers from pancreatic cancer was initially surprised to find herself thrown out of her local hospital by the NHS and denied regular cancer treatment.
"I was shocked to be locked out with all me possessions on the street," said Mrs. Leucocyte. "But I pepped up and crawled home and those nice NHS people then helped me kids to adapt the colour telly to radiate me cancer. The kids are also mixing me own chemo drugs out of bleach and floor polish. I feel a lot better already, God Bless them."
Another patient with HIV also extols the benefits of self treatment.
"I make my own silver colloid solution by grinding up me mum's tableware," said Rodney Castleblock III, age 27. "It turns me skin gray but I'm walking about now without all those nasty drugs."
The NHS program is based on an American "self-care" plan devised to save on the astronomical costs of US hospital care. There, GP consultations have fallen 97%, while local outpatient visits and emergency care attendance dropped by 99%. Hospital admissions were also reduced by 93%. Unfortunately, mortality in such chronic cases is also up 783%.
A senior NHS source said "We want to expand self-care so that we can close all of our hospitals and allow doctors to stay permanently on the beach or playing cricket."