Thursday, 25 October 2007

Health and Vaccines

In England, your health records are held by your GP and you get notified when regular treatments are due, like vaccines and smear tests.

In France, until recently, it was the responsibility of the patient to keep all their health records and to ask their Medecin Traitment as and when things were due.

This is now changing - about eighteen months ago a new computerised record system was introduced. It will take time but in the future it will provide 'prompts' as in England - but not quite yet because back records are not being loaded.

So when I was at the Doctor's last week, I mentioned that I thought the girls were due some vaccines (I had checked on the Internet). Sure enough, he checked the schedule against their ages and wrote prescriptions.

I questioned why the youngest was not getting a BCG injection - and he explained that in France now this is only given to older children if they are in a high risk environment. An interesting change!

Then I queried one on LeeLee's prescription that was not on my list. He explained it was a new vaccine against the cause of Cervical Cancer - and LeeLee being aged seventeen now, was in the priority group. Incredible how things are moving on in medicine!

When I went to the pharmacist, I again asked if everything had been covered by the Doctor - Dr Veyrie (the pharmacist) also speaks excellent English so although we usually speak to him in French, we are able to revert to English for important things. I was very interested in the new vaccine because I had not heard about it before.

Then what did I see but this news article on the BBC site. The vaccine will be available from next September in the UK - but already there are 'groups' who are speaking out that it will encourage sexual promiscuity!? How sick and sad are some people - we have the chance to reduce the death rate of this cancer and they are trying to stir up things by attaching the words 'sexual promiscuity' because they know it will grab the headlines!

I am disconcerted that parents in the UK will decide whether their children can have the vaccine - daughters of fanatics who have narrow views on sex will inevitably miss out. I question whether this is right? Also we, the public, technically pay for any NHS cancer treatment provided (through our NI contributions and tax) and surely the money should go towards treating things we cannot prevent.
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Pharmacists in France study for almost as long as Doctors and are qualified to diagnose and treat a wide range of health problems. Here it is usual for a person to visit the Pharmacist - who will refer them to a Doctor if the problem is outside their terms of reference. This does reduce the queues at the Doctor's!

Richard was given a prescription for shoe inserts by the Joint Specialist last week to correct the mis-alignment he has in his legs - and I have to say that he was very sceptical about what good these would actually do.

He turned up at the chemist and handed over his prescription - and was immediately referred to Dr Veyrie himself (the Senior man!). Dr Veyrie invited Richard upstairs to a working area above the chemist - which we did not realise existed! He then proceeded to carry out various measurements and calculations, using a wide range of machinery - Richard was astonished and amazed. At the end of it, Dr Veyrie explained that he actually makes the inserts himself - designed especially for Richard. It takes him about two weeks! Richard then goes back to have them fitted, tweaked to be totally accurate, and that's it........we are assured they will make a huge difference!

Richard came home chastened - never again will he dismiss a prescription so out of hand!

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