For medical bureaucrats, pictures really are worth 1,000 words

Many non-urgent medical decisions these days are made by budget holders. To some extent these people are doctors such as General Practitioners, GPs. But in England many of the decisions are taken by the staff in the back-offices of the Clinical Commissioning Groups, CCGs.
There are, of course, complicated forms which GPs have to send in when asking for extra money. Will it set a precedent? Is there a cost-benefit already calculated? Is there a cheaper alternative? What if we do nothing?
And this seems all very scientific, or at least basic economics.
But I would like to suggest a new factor that is being used in deciding whether more money should be spent — can we see a picture?
You can write to them with an essay about your ME and fatigue, or muscle pains, or whatever. But is there a picture? A photo of a gory rash, a broken bone or a shadow on an X-ray, a twisted limb, even an old scar would be good. But all this vague mushy-mushy psychological stuff, well, where’s the proof? Like CSI staff with their cameras clicking, show us some real evidence, seems to be the unspoken message.
Functional MRI scans were a great leap forward. We could put people’s heads inside the MRI scanner, wide awake, and see images of changes in blood flow within the brain when we showed someone words or pictures, for example a bowl of chips.
At last — pictures! These scans are the latest truth drug, it shows someone was not lying, they really do feel a pain in their elbow, or whatever.
So, next time you and your GP need to ask for extra funding, I suggest you both think about sending pictures.

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