What was that about the phallocentrism of health care?

Women will be offered psychological therapy on the NHS to cope with premenstrual syndrome under new guidelines.

Senior doctors will today recommend that women diagnosed with PMS be given cognitive behavioural therapy as the first course of treatment for the condition.

Hmm.

Actually, since CBT consists of telling people “Yes, that’s true, that is a problem but, you know, the human condition, you’ll just have to deal with it” then perhaps that is proper phallocentrism at work.

25 thoughts on “What was that about the phallocentrism of health care?”

  1. Fun Fact — at that time of the month, women have a hormonal mix that comes closest to what men have to deal with every day. So the CBT can include “We men have to deal with it 28 days out of 28, so you’re getting off easy.”

  2. All very well but for one thing, the referral time for CBT on the NHS is in months, multiples there of for most GP surgeries. Back to the SSRi’s then.

  3. CBT might just consist of telling people to get over themselves, but it still requires a degree and it still pays well over £30k (plus pension etc.) in the NHS. (source)

  4. So apparently women *aren’t* just the same as men when it comes to the workplace, then. Weren’t the knuckle-dragging misogynists of the 1950s saying this all along?

  5. CBT may pay well on the NHS, but it’ll still be way cheaper than bothering to diagnose and treat endometriosis. So I confidently predict that this policy will kill some women.

  6. @The Sage

    “Fun Fact — at that time of the month, women have a hormonal mix that comes closest to what men have to deal with every day. So the CBT can include “We men have to deal with it 28 days out of 28, so you’re getting off easy.””

    How true is that? Marvellous if so. You got any sources (said in friendliness)?

  7. CBT is used to help a lot of people with ongoing health issues. Have had it myself for a disability.
    It can work, it can even work well. Just depends on the person and whether they need that help.
    Not everyone does hence not everyone gets something out of it.
    It is however a cheap method of dealing with people. No drugs, no long term negative effects.

  8. Martin,

    Yes, I’m not knocking it. To be clear: CBT by itself is a perfectly good idea. What a decent health system would do is proper diagnosis and then CBT if that’s what’s necessary. What the NHS will do is save money by providing CBT instead of finding out what’s necessary.

  9. You try getting Hormone Replacement Therapy on the NHS. If you’re a woman then it is a piece of piss, unfortunately if you are a man it’s a case of “Sorry dude, suck it up”.

  10. @John Galt
    It’s *NOT* easy getting HRT on the NHS. My wife has just gone through this, and it goes something like this. “Can’t you just live with it.” OK what about some herbal remedies. OK so what about this weak dose HRT. In the end she went to France, because she is French, and her mother arranged for her to see a GP there. Cue some weapons grade HRT, and she feels much better.

    I think there is a toxic mixture here of a) the same forces thinking natural child birth is best, when throughout history it’s been the greatest premature killer of women. b) the fear of HRT causing cancer, due to some particularly dodgy epidemiology. c) cost cutting. d) ignorance.

    My wife’s GP is a woman BTW. Millions of women are suffering in this country because of this. I’m not hopeful of any common sense being seen for the majority of the month.

  11. Ian,

    > c) cost cutting.

    Probably my single biggest criticism of the sainted NHS (and I have lots) is what its budget does to doctors’ attitudes. The constant awareness of the fact that there is a single fixed sum of money and that every single treatment reduces it is poisonous. Doctors treat healthcare as a zero-sum game, because, in the NHS, sadly, it is.

    Course, one solution to this is to let the NHS bring extra money into the system by treating private patients too. But then the NHS’s “defenders” have conniptions.

  12. Bloke in North Dorset

    S2,

    “Course, one solution to this is to let the NHS bring extra money into the system by treating private patients too. But then the NHS’s “defenders” have conniptions.”

    I had kidney stone extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (EWSL) treatment done privately out of hours in an NHS hospital. I assume it was an NHS machine rented out to the private health insurers.

    Given the cost of these machines it struck me as a win-win.

  13. Doctors treat healthcare as a zero-sum game, because, in the NHS, sadly, it is.

    Not just doctors – politicians and civil servants, too. And the mindset of socialist rationing leads to ever more nanny-statism from the public health wallahs who justify their own existence by telling their political masters that x amount of money can be saved if joe public can be nagged into abstaining from y or doing z. The NHS distorts our political and social life. It needs to be reformed out of existence in an Ecksian purge.

  14. And the mindset of socialist rationing leads to ever more nanny-statism from the public health wallahs who justify their own existence by telling their political masters that x amount of money can be saved if joe public can be nagged into abstaining from y or doing z.

    To the statist fuckers who govern us, that’s a feature not a bug. They love the NHS precisely for this reason.

  15. Bloke in North Dorset, we knew a guy in Blackpool who was told he needed a heart operation. Waiting list at the time was only about 6 – 9 months. The following week he was checked into the private hospital down the road from the NHS hospital, 2 days later taken by ambulance to the NHS hospital, operated on in the NHS hospital then back to the private hospital by ambulance again to recover. He was home a couple of weeks after going in, the NHS of course charged the private hospital for use of facilities etc – and got someone else off the waiting list. Win/Win all round.
    That was many years ago, cannot think its likely much different now.

    I was in the GP surgery this afternoon, a couple of student doctors then they had to explain to the GP who came in afterwards what had been said, examination found what etc. Its a good way of teaching.
    Just it took 45 minutes for 1 patient to be seen and tied up a GP room for that entire time and a GP for probably 20 minutes, when she could have done it herself in 10.

    Result was tests ordered, pain technician (used to be called torturers then physiotherapitsts) booked and blood test ordered. Maybe get sorted in another few weeks, or if referred to hospital another 6 months.

  16. Pavlov would have pointed out that the NHS is designed to stop easy medical care. Only the persistent get what they think they want. Otherwise the whole edifice would be distracted from its proper bureaucratic function.

  17. CBT may well be an effective process… But not if the NHS always does it in the way it “treated” my wife. Never had any face-to-face contact, instead she was phoned once a week by some gormless bint who spent 15 minutes going through a tick-box of facile questions along the lines of “Can you rate from 1 to 10 how likely you were to have topped yourself this last week?”

    Cost-effective maybe. Probably close to negative figures in terms of treatment effectiveness.

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