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To think you already need private healthcare?

(96 Posts)
MerryMarigold Fri 02-Jun-17 13:22:04

On Tuesday Dh was in a cycling accident (someone cut in front of him on a steep downhill, he managed to break and avoid car, but came off bike at speed - luckily he was wearing a helmet). He has fractured a vertebra in his neck (c7). So, he was in hospital overnight and next day; diagnosed and given a neck brace, then came home all within 24 hours. His next appointment is in 6 WEEKS!

He was not told what he can/ can't do with the brace, how to get out of bed, whether he can shower, how he should wash his hair, whether he should be lying down or it's ok to sit. Anything he was told would have been difficult to retain anyway, having just been in a high impact accident a few hours earlier, concussed/ shocked etc. Nothing written was given to him for me/ any carer to read. I was not allowed to visit until 2.30pm which was after all the docs come round.

Yesterday he went to GP, who signed him off work for at least 6 weeks and gave him names of consultants who he can access more quickly on his work private healthcare. He is seeing one tonight, thankfully. So we should have more idea of what he is able to do or not.

I don't have private healthcare and neither do the kids, not to mention most people in the UK. If they had had this accident, what would they do?...It could be made much worse by doing things incorrectly. Then perhaps surgery needed/ long term problems come up etc. It's not a broken leg in plaster (immovable).

Crunchyside Fri 02-Jun-17 13:29:37

YANBU unfortunately. I had a friend who had gall stones which were incredibly painful and debilitating, prevented her from doing so many everyday things and kept her awake all night. First when the GP referred her, she had to wait weeks for a consultation. Then, the waiting list for surgery was 18 weeks just to receive an appointment letter and another 18 for the actual treatmwnt itself. So essentially she was being expected to live in agony for nearly a year! Not only that but she cares for her disabled mother and elderly grandmother, and was finding it increasingly difficult to look after them with her own health problems.

In the end it got so bad her entire family had to scrape together over £6000 to get it done privately. It's just not acceptable.

Rhayader Fri 02-Jun-17 13:31:24

We have it for our whole family (2 adults and 2 DC) through DHs job (they pay but we pay the tax on it as it is a benefit in kind). Covers health, dental, travel and international emergency rescue.

I've had an operation on it but it doesn't really cover much for the kids. Anything developmental is not covered and my births weren't covered other than a one off payment for having each child, I cant remember what it was but it was nowhere near approaching the cost of a private birth, it was more in the region of covering the parking fees and a takeaway on the first day back with the baby.

It's nice to have the safety net there but i dont think I would pay out of pocket for it. We pay £2-3K tax a year for it.

NoLoveofMine Fri 02-Jun-17 13:32:34

Only because of what the Tories (and Lib Dems) have done to the NHS. Plus private healthcare providers palm off anything complicated or any mistakes they make to the NHS to pick up the bill to correct.

MerryMarigold Fri 02-Jun-17 13:34:05

I am thinking we should get it for the whole family now. You never know when you may need it. sad and angry

MerryMarigold Fri 02-Jun-17 13:37:52

I know it is what has been done to the NHS, I know. It just makes me mad when it is brought home in this way. And there's all my neighbours voting for it to get even worse.

The consultant Dh is seeing also works for the NHS, so seems like you can just pick up and drop off NHS/ private (if you have the private). But private treatment will be quicker and (hopefully) more thorough.

NoLoveofMine Fri 02-Jun-17 13:41:01

It won't necessarily be more thorough. Anything too complicated and they'll be palming it off to the NHS.

RhythmAndStealth Fri 02-Jun-17 14:08:25

I kind of get what you mean- the NHS just isn't reliable anymore.

DH's employer insist that people over a certain level (defined by how much income they are responsible for, or how many people they supervise, or whether they deliver a business critical process) have:
1. Annual health check up
2. Private health insurance (which they subsidise a bit)- interestingly the policy they opted for has complete cancer cover
3. Life insurance policy benefiting the company (again, subsidised)
They've done risk assessments about what it would mean to the running of the company if someone died/was out of action for over a month and put this in place.

I think it's very worrying that it's got to this. My view is that
1. We need to train many more doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. There should be (more generous) living busaries whilst training, with a some kind of cancellation of student debt for fees for each year served within public health in the U.K.
2. Move to something similar to the French system, where people have real choice over which doctor/hospital they go to. Then places that don't give good service will lose business and either are forced to improve or close.
3. We need to pay higher taxes overall and a larger proportion of GDP towards healthcare. We expect Scandinavian levels of public services on very low tax rates. And we need to sort out tax avoidance desperately.

MerryMarigold Fri 02-Jun-17 14:12:36

By more thorough I just meant not chucking him out asap, more detailed info. A lot of the docs seen to be the same people in private and nhs.

brasty Fri 02-Jun-17 14:12:46

I remember 10-15 years ago where the profits of private health insurers were falling, because the NHS had improved so much. Many of us such as me can not afford private, not that the Government care though.

brasty Fri 02-Jun-17 14:13:55

Incidentally, I have heard two horror stories from friends who have private health insurance about treatment they once had. Don't assume private always means better.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 02-Jun-17 14:17:01

Whereabouts are you OP. I've always found the NHS to be fast,.and informative where I am (big city, Scotland). I've had two types of skin cancer taken off, and a difficult root canal plus various other bits, and never had anything to.complain about.

MerryMarigold Fri 02-Jun-17 14:18:25

London out skirts

andintothefire Fri 02-Jun-17 14:24:29

I can't afford private healthcare at the moment but am starting to think that it might be more cost effective for me in some ways. I am self employed and the amount of time I have wasted with a recent medical issue through the NHS has probably cost me more in lost time than it would have cost me to go private. The NHS is so overstretched, and it has been so frustrating to have to wait in excess of four hours to be seen at times.

All but one doctor has been fantastic (the latter was obviously very rushed, seemed to resent me asking questions about what could be serious medical issues in future, and clearly just wanted me out in a matter of minutes rather than spending time explaining things to me - this after I waited five weeks for an appointment). Not completely his fault, but overall it made the appointment quite an upsetting experience. I would never treat my (privately paying) clients like that.

I don't think there is anything wrong with paying privately if your time is worth more than the wait on the NHS. It must be particularly frustrating if it involves weeks of waiting while being in pain or less productive.

Such a shame that Labour has promised such a ridiculously wide range of spending policies, rather than prioritising the most important things like the NHS, education and disability support.

sparechange Fri 02-Jun-17 14:25:47

I think there is a lot of looking through rose tinted glasses though

I had an accident in 1999 which resulted in me badly damaging my L4 and L5 vertebrae. Blue lighted to A&E and kept in overnight because blood in my urine suggested kidney damage.
And then I was sent home the next day. Not even with painkillers. I was told to make a Gp appointment to get some.

I waited 6 months for an MRI before they knew the full extent of the damage and then another 3 months for a referral to physio, where I was given 6 sessions

I muddled through for a few years until it became really bad again in 2005/6 and got an appointment for the MRI very quickly but then no follow up with the consultant to discuss the results for months and months

The NHS always seems to be great for real emergencies and life or death situations - cancer, heart attacks, serious accidents, maternity etc

But I genuinely don't remember a time when non-emergency and elective stuff was quick and efficient.

RedBugMug Fri 02-Jun-17 14:33:53

we paid privately for diagnosis & treatment for dc bone condition.

nhs was shockingly bad. waiting times (for c investigation!!!) 6 months at the other end of the country.
we just had to make that jump for dc. and tbh the 6k we paid was possibly not much more expensive than unpaid leave for the various nhs appointments (inconvenient times/locations, long waiting times) we would have needed otherwise.

BeyondThePage Fri 02-Jun-17 14:33:58

We have recent experience of all this - the NHS just does not seem very "joined up" at the moment.
DD dislocated a knee cap and needed emergency treatment - could not have been better. Doc there was going to refer her to a knee clinic.

They didn't

I spent 3 days ringing various departments to sort it out.
It took so long to come through that the brace had caused muscle loss in her leg. Knee clinic was going to refer her to Physio.

They didn't

I spent 3 days chasing round only to find out TODAY that the consultant's secretary is off for a week. So could be another week before she is referred LET ALONE SEEN.

I rang a private children's physio clinic today and got an appointment for tomorrow. £60, but she will be seen TOMORROW!

brasty Fri 02-Jun-17 14:34:26

I am a frequent user of the NHS, and waiting times were much shorter under Labour. No it was not perfect, but it was better than it is now.
Just one example, I got seen the next day on a home visit for an issue, quickly escalated and I got suitable treatment plus regular follow up with a consultant.

Same issue reoccurred last year. Had to wait 3 months to get seen, told that I would have to buy some aids myself as they no longer provide them free, and follow up with a nurse in a clinic.

If you really want to know if things have got worse, ask someone who is a frequent user of the NHS, not those who have a one off issue. It has got worse. Longer waiting times, and more restrictions on what is paid for.

BabychamSocialist Fri 02-Jun-17 14:43:04

Depends where you live I suppose. Me and DS2 have had several MRIs in the past few years and the longest we waited was 2 weeks. DP was rushed into hospital a few weeks ago with the flu and received excellent treatment and was sent home with tamiflu and he recovered brilliantly.

Never experienced these massive waiting times except in A&E.

And no, I would never have private healthcare except for dental. Private healthcare is awful because in an emergency they just dump you with the local A&E.

IStoleThisUsername Fri 02-Jun-17 14:44:26

I worked in accounts for an NHS hospital a few years back, switched to a private hospital and the invoices I paid were to the same doctors that I'd worked with in the NHS. You don't actually get any better doctors/treatment, it's just the time you're saving by having private healthcare.

BabychamSocialist Fri 02-Jun-17 14:50:36

But yes I agree, for a lot of 'non-urgent' things the waiting times are shocking. DS2 ended up needing hearing aids and his appointment for the test was November 16 and his appointment to actually get them February 17. We were only able to get them earlier because our GP pushed it through.

brasty Fri 02-Jun-17 14:52:31

Outside of London, few private hospitals have the facilities to deal with more complex emergencies. A friend who has work health insurance and needed complex surgery, actually opted for the NHS as she thought it would be safer.

NoLoveofMine Fri 02-Jun-17 14:55:36

Hopefully people will vote to oust this government before the damage done to the NHS is irreparable (I fear the Health and Social Care Act may already be).

ColdFeetWarmHeart Fri 02-Jun-17 14:58:58

I agree. I was thinking this just yesterday. I used to have BUPA cover through work about 10 years ago and found that very good and it was relatively inexpensive at the time, as it was just me. I've moved jobs since then and my current employer pays for health shield, which gives you a little off of regular health care per year, eg £60 off glasses, £50 towards physiotherapy per year.

I'm pregnant at the moment and not having an easy pregnancy. I'm struggling to get hold of midwife or appointments with GP. Did manage to get a physio referral for bad SPD but was basically dismissed yesterday after just 2 appointments. I can't help but feel that because baby seems to be doing fine at the scans, and they are hoping that my issues will go away soon after delivery that they just don't care about me. The rational side of me knows it's all about under funding and a lack of resources, but it's hard to remember that when you're in a lot of pain and not given much advice as to how to not make condition worse or any aids to support you, even after you have been told that they would help.

I think if the NHS could be run a little better / efficiently and had more funding people could get proper treatment earlier, meaning they would suffer less and their treatment would probably cost less. After all a few physio or dietician appointments are a lot cheaper than surgeries for torn ligaments, gastric bypasses or limb amputations due to diabetes.

FiveGoMadInDorset Fri 02-Jun-17 14:59:36

On the other side of the coin, my husband has had exceptional care since his cancer diagnosis last year, over three acute trusts, and it continues with his first operation on Monday following 6 months of chemo, numerous scans, a liver procedure and will be having more surgery later on this summer

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