Elizabeth who lives in United Kingdom is helped by the National Health Service (NHS) is the publicly funded health care system of England; the National Health Service (NHS) is not to be confused with the other three national health systems operating in the United Kingdom which are responsible to their own governments and have developed under differing legislation. All four services collectively operate without general discrimination toward citizens from each others areas.
The NHS provides the majority of healthcare to Elizabeth, from general practitioners to hospitals, long-term healthcare, thus helping her cope with her diabetes. The National Health Service Act was passed in 1946 and came into effect on 5 July 1948; subsequently it has become an integral part of British society, culture and everyday life: the NHS was once described by Nigel Lawson, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, as "the national religion". Private health care has continued parallel to the NHS, paid for largely by private insurance, but it is used only by a small percentage of the population, and generally as a top-up to NHS services.
As the reforms continue to change the way the NHS works, NHIS is able to offer new insights into its performance. It is a uniquely powerful and cost-effective resource for those who need to understand, interpret and exploit these events - from pharmaceutical companies developing their marketing strategies, to patients needing to be aware how the system works.
Elizabeth often also uses the Diabetes UK Careline as a further source of information for people with diabetes and it receives around 50 000 enquiries a year. The Careline number is 0845 120 2960 and it is open Monday to Friday from 9am until 5pm (a translation service is available) with recorded information available 24 hours a day. As well as offering information to people on a wide range of subjects, Careline also offers support through talking with a trained counsellor .
Calls to Careline allow Elizabeth to identify gaps in currently available information, and to then fill them. We have found this to be particularly true around the subject of diet--by far the most requested topic of information. This can be as simple as producing quick question-and-answer style responses to topics that the media has generated interest about, to developing a more detailed information resource, such as the weight management pack, which deals with many of the issues that callers to Careline, both lay and professional, have raised.
Like most people who get their information on diabetes from the media, the internet or the man next door, this often means that the information they receive is distorted or even dangerous, Elizabeth too was affected by this but her problems were taken care of by the Careline. A particular issue is the myth around 'mild diabetes' or 'a touch of sugar', which many callers to Careline cite as their particular problem. Because diabetes has been couched in these terms, many people fail to realise the seriousness of their condition and think that they only have to avoid sugar in their diet (another popular misconception).