To feel like actually, health care isn't really free at the point of service?

(57 Posts)
RevoltingPeasant Fri 03-May-13 17:05:01

Would honestly appreciate thoughts on whether I am being precious/ demanding here, but..........

Today I went to a physio appointment. Private physio letting out rooms in an NHS GP practice. The GP practice is closed for a couple of hours or something, and he uses their rooms.

Sitting in the waiting room, I noticed these two posters next to each other:

'On a low income and need help with healthcare costs? Eye care, prescriptions (etc, it went on)'

Then an ad for the private physio I was seeing.

I'm seeing a private physio as I have no hope of getting one on the NHS and it helps me keep active (tendon injuries). I pay for private eye care, and obviously even NHS dentists charge. The posters made me think about how much most people can't get on the NHS 'free'.

I wish it weren't this way, but AIBU to think that actually, except for hospital admissions (which are a big thing of course!) much of the time it is really not true to say that healthcare is free at point of service?

ophelia275 Sat 04-May-13 11:10:46

It's not free, that is a myth. It is paid for from the taxes of those in work and those in work then have to go on to pay even more for things like prescriptions and dentistry. If you need things like a crown or bridge, this will cost hundreds of pounds (as I recently found out) so definitely not free.

HappyMummyOfOne Sat 04-May-13 10:29:14

Overall I think the NHS is great, it does need tweaking in that it pays for some treatments that are choices but its a system I am thankful for.

I'm quite happy to pay for dental and eye care, far better those than paying when you seriously ill and amounts are in the thousands.

I would imagine 95%+ take out of the NHS far more than they ever contribute so paying for a few things isn't too much to expect of people.

sparkle9 Sat 04-May-13 10:12:11

I think the NHS is a great idea and works pretty well. I would urge you all to watch Keeping Britain Alive on BBC iPlayer. Really good documentary about the NHS.

I do think there needs to be some debate about what the NHS should fund. There seem to be quite a few ''lifestyle" treatments that are fully funded/free while essential dental work (for example) must be paid for by those who earn over quite a low threshold. IMO that is wrong.

Maryz Sat 04-May-13 10:01:42

At the moment ds's medication is costing us €144 a month.

Yesterday I had to take him to A&E, it cost €100 plus another tenner for painkillers.

I have to take him to the physio next week - it will be €60 euro per session. He probably needs three or four.

And he has to go back to the skin specialist next month. That will be €100 for the consultant and €120 for the blood tests.

I need new glasses, so does dd. All the kids are overdue a dental checkup, I need a root canal treatment and will probably lose the tooth if I don't get it in the next couple of months, and dh needs to go back to the specialist over a hernia problem he has. But those will have to wait for the moment, as we simply don't have the money.

The NHS is bloody good envy

Weegiemum Sat 04-May-13 09:55:40

I love the NHS (and not only because they pay our mortgage as dh is a GP).

I've had a tonsillectomy, brace on my teeth for 18 months, serious depression involving hospital care, 3 dc, a prolonged time with kidney stones related to pregnancy (involving 4 visits to theatre!), referral to clinical psychology, and now I have a neurological disability which put me in hospital, and I was "tested" just about to my limits - nerve tests (EMG), CT scan, x-rays, ultrasound, MRI scan, PET scan, lip biopsy by the maxfax surgeon, at my admission they took 17 vials of blood, one of which was packed into a flask of hot sand and sent to Germany for testing! I am looked after at one of the worlds best neurological centres, and my ongoing treatment (an IV infusion of immunoglobulins) costs about £10,000 a month.

We'd thought about emigrating. Guess that won't be happening now!

MrsLion Sat 04-May-13 09:01:29

Yanbu to point out that some NHS healthcare isn't 'free'. It's not.

But would be V V U for people to whinge about the costs - healthcare in the uk in general, is amazingly affordable.

ouryve Fri 03-May-13 23:45:19

tomorrow - it's a one off cost for all of them. Not one cost for each tooth.

WilsonFrickett Fri 03-May-13 23:34:16

That's the other thing of course - private insurance just entitles you to use NHS facilities and staff ahead of the queue and is very expensive. There isn't an affordable, comprehensive 'second stream'. For eg, I'm a freelance copywriter. If I get an RSI I don't think I'd get much help from the NHS, which is kinda fair enough - its hardly life threatening. But if it stops me from working...

But if, again, there was that honest debate that said, 'well the NHS is here for this and that, but if you think this is important you can buy some cheap insurance to help you access it', that would be a good thing IMO.

valiumredhead Fri 03-May-13 23:20:42

OP why won't your GP refer you for a block of physio sessions? The last to GP's I have had have done so.

tomorowisanotherday Fri 03-May-13 23:07:21

okay, so £150 for three teeth.... Anyone got a pair of rusty pliers????

Startail Fri 03-May-13 21:53:31

As another person who cannot function at all without my glasses, that's the one that irritates me most. Because of safety driving and spotting glaucoma etc. I think people ought to get a free annual/biannual eye test like children can. DD still costs me money for glasses because she's a awkward fashion conscious madam.

I choose not to hunt high and low for an NHS dentist as ours is nice and good with DCs (who are still free)

Xenia Fri 03-May-13 21:44:35

I cancelled our private healthcare as no one ever seems to be ill. I have been to our GP myself about once in the last 8 years (I realise I am terribly terribly lucky that this is so) and when we have used the NHS it's been really good. Also if I needed to pay the full cost of anything privately if I wanted it done privately I could probably afford it.

I have paid for the odd thing privately for the children but that has cost nothing like the cost of paying for BUPA and some of that cost would be things private insurers do not cover anyway.

I suspect we are very lucky having good NHS dentists around here and our GP is a large group practice in new building with 7 day a week appointments.

RevoltingPeasant Fri 03-May-13 21:31:05

Horry, not only are they expensive, they don't cover much compared to lots of other programmes in other countries.

We had health insurance arranged through my dad's work when I was a kid but I was able to keep it on at my own expense afterwards (I cancelled it when I returned to study). It was about £90 a month but covered everything-everything and they were not shitty about paying out.

I did at one point investigate BUPA policies and they basically send you through the NHS and just do anything 'extra' faster. So you are not that much better off and still taking up NHS resources (if that is a consideration).

We have had ours through work. Personal policies are scarily expensive.

Skinnywhippet Fri 03-May-13 21:23:23

Tis makes me think about getting health insurance. People mention bupa....any other recommendations. Do you just buy online?

RevoltingPeasant Fri 03-May-13 21:21:06

And also yes, I appreciate how lucky we are to have any socialised medicine.

I grew up in the US and when my sister nearly died of cancer, my parents' health insurance paid out. Had they not been able to afford it, they would have been in a horrible mess.

However, I have also lived in France and other countries with different forms of socialised medicine and think it's possible to fund the health service better and make it more comprehensive.

RevoltingPeasant Fri 03-May-13 21:18:08

Wilson yes quite. I think you are right about that debate! Myself, I am a big fan of preventative medicine and public health as I think it leads to a happier, healthier population in the long run. This is probably pedantic but I have always thought that if it really is a primary care service then calling it the National Health Service is a misnomer.

I would love to see it better funded and bigger.

NUFC I'm really not sure what you mean by me being out for someone else's blood. As I said very clearly, I would happily pay higher taxes and NI than I do to fund a more comprehensive NHS. There was a thread on here earlier about a woman denied an epidural because of understaffing. I would happily pay more so that isn't the case. Or so that I don't have to wait 18 months for a kidney operation, as I did the other year.

Yes, thanks, I know people pay more NI the more they earn. DH and I would be amongst the higher earners I am thinking of as we have a household income of c. £65k.

This means I am lucky and can almost always afford health care. Not everyone can. I wish this were different.

StealthOfficialCrispTester Fri 03-May-13 21:00:24

That said, that has been split and management if epidemic is now within central gov. Provision of the other services are still NHS though, and public healthcare ( not necessarily nhs) is still carried out

StealthOfficialCrispTester Fri 03-May-13 20:58:49

Don't forget public health. Immunisations. Management of epidemics. Stop smoking and obesity services.

badtime Fri 03-May-13 20:55:05

tomorrow, I think fillings and extractions cost the same these days (they are both band 2, so about £50 for the full course of treatment).

WilsonFrickett Fri 03-May-13 20:40:01

I agree peas - by the time I add in my contraception and c-section, I don't think I'll ever be able to pay in more than I've taken out.

I do think there's a debate to be had about what we really expect the NHS to be able to pay for though. As pp have said, when it was set up it was not set up for people to have physio to help them continue to walk or cycle (not getting at you op) more comfortably. What is primary healthcare these days? I suspect we all have different ideas on that...

littlepeas Fri 03-May-13 20:31:40

I pay for my eyes and my teeth and we have BUPA (which we have used once, but very importantly, to jump a ridiculous wait for a diagnostic echocardiogram when my dd had just nearly died from a common cold - we were seen immediately and would have had to have waited weeks otherwise). But then I think about everything I have had for free and it is buttons compared to what we would have had to pay in a country where there is no equivalent to the NHS. Just having my 3 dc would have cost a serious sum I imagine, plus my dd had heart surgery (for which we didn't use our private healthcare), not to mention every GP appointment, prescription, rush to A&E, we've had over the years. Contraception! Free contraception seems like such a little thing, but it undoubtedly makes a huge difference to people.

ouryve Fri 03-May-13 20:18:45

DS1 takes a drug that costs £60 a packet, btw. For a while, when he was in between doses, he had to take tablets a day, meaning that his treatment was costing £120 a month. It costs us nothing, of course. I know people in the US are having to pay the full cost price for this sort of drug.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Fri 03-May-13 20:12:25

I'm temporarily in the US too and I miss the NHS! Yes, it's not perfect but you're not made to wait in a hospital corridor, bleeding and in pain until you pull out your insurance card!

I do see what people are saying about dental charges etc but the fees that exist now are so far below actual service costs, it's ridiculous. Yes, £50 may seem extortionate for a filling, but here it is a minimum $150 and crowns can be up to $5000. Yes, $5000, so just over £3000 - not the £200 cap or whatever exists in the UK at present.

And this isn't to say I'm not sympathetic to the plight of those who cannot afford to pay NHS charges, but there are thousands of Americans who would give anything for the healthcare opportunities we have in the UK.

NUFC69 Fri 03-May-13 20:10:39

Revolting - you do realise, I presume, that the more money you earn the more NI you pay? This means that those with the most money already pay more - you obviously want blood (somebody else's). And, please, do stop peddling this myth that the NHS is free, it most certainly isn't. Someone, somewhere is paying for every little treatment, pill, etc., that we are all taking. I am certainly not saying do away with the NHS, but we need to have a proper discussion about what it should be paying for - when it was set up treatment, and therefore costs, were quite basic compared with the marvellous things we can do now.

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