Discounting Kills Healthcare
The current economic climate has been challenging for most of us and consumer trends indicate that a higher proportion of us are being attracted to discounted goods and services as we are becoming far more aware of price.
Of course this is understandable given falling incomes, higher costs in some cases and lower disposable incomes. This approach makes a lot of sense in a retail environment for example where getting a trolley full of groceries, or having your car serviced at a lower price means savings without necessarily having to compromise on quality to any great extent.
But what about healthcare?
I feel we need to consider primary healthcare and related costs from a different perspective.
Considering this is your health and wellbeing we are talking about, would you feel confident in a doctor or physiotherapist who is charging heavily discounted prices simply to try and get patients through the door? What does this tell you about how they value themselves and the service they are providing? The thinking in healthcare is that if we all subscribed to this approach, it becomes race to the bottom where ultimately the quality of care will no doubt suffer.
Training and regulation
As Chartered Physiotherapist’s my wife and I run a private clinic in Mount Merrion, Co Dublin. We, as well as our associate physiotherapists have accredited University undergraduate and postgraduate Masters degrees in Physiotherapy. The profession is recognised by the Department of Health and as such we are able to treat patients directly without a doctors referral. Physiotherapy is also soon to be regulated along with other healthcare professions in Ireland under the new national medical regulatory framework which will further help safeguard public welfare and safety.
When seeking the assistance of a Chartered Physiotherapist for a physical ailment, you will be consulting a medical professional who has spent at least 4 years studying full time at Medical School. In our clinic we have also invested many hundreds of hours in further education, in service training, courses and seminars over the years to ensure we remain up to date and able to deliver the most effective treatment methods.
With this in mind, our approach over the last 5 years has been not to offer regular discounts but instead to continually try and improve our level of service by providing the highest standard of assessment and treatment.
The knock on effect of continually getting better at what we do and how we do it, is that our clients get better, more quickly. This often results in overall savings in the long run as fewer sessions of treatment are required, and if we have done our job properly (and if you have taken on board our advice and continue your exercises) the chance of the same problem returning is significantly reduced.
Good value is therefore not based on how 'cheap' the consultation fee is but rather how effectively your condition was treated and how quickly you got better.
If a physical problem is tackled early by an experienced and well qualified Chartered Physiotherapist, the need for onward referral to specialists or consultants is often reduced as well as the costs of expensive hospital based procedures.
It is easy to get lured into the false economy of cheap or discounted services when it comes to healthcare which could easily end up costing you more in the long run. Not just monetary costs, but with a potential cost to your health as well.