Facing reality – when the NHS takes too long

Compared with Europeans, we don’t pay as

much for our healthcare, but …..

  • Europeans don’t wait for appointments

    They get their operation when convenient for them

  • Most hospitals have private or double rooms, even for those paying lowest rates (believing this cuts cross-infection)

  • No ‘Clinic’ system – you see same Doctor/Consultant all the way through

  • Superb post-op care, in hospital and at home, and physio when needed

Our NHS is a much more basic system, but hey – can’t complain as we pay less than Europeans for our health taxes.

Package deals for medical care

With the Labour party threatening 20% tax on top of medical insurance costs, many are looking at self-funding (paying for their medical care directly to the hospital).

If you want same care as they get in Europe, it is time to think about going privately.  And to make the cost more affordable, many private hospitals are now offering package deals for operation, private hospital room, drugs, physio, decent food and all care whilst in their centre.  A friend did this recently for a hip operation, developed an unexpected complication which couldn’t have been foreseen and was no-body’s fault, and she didn’t pay a penny extra for specialised treatment and extra three day’s stay.

N.B.  If you take out a package some include the surgeon’s fee, and for some you pay extra. Ask

So today, many of us face reality and realise we must pay if we want an operation or treatment without having a long wait   

Image result for nhs humour

So, paying for private treatment, not only do we have the luxury of choosing when it would suit us to have this, but where we want it.  We get a private room, nurses that answer call bells without delay and no dementia patients (who are now treated ‘equally’ so dementia wards are closed and patients are in same wards) waking us up at night.

And, it is highly unlikely for private operations to get CANCELLED at the last minute.

Oh – and it’s my experience that doctors, nurses and Consultants in the private sector are more relaxed when treating you. In the private sector they don’t have so much paperwork, so have time to talk to you.

What can make us ‘go private’

I was shocked when watching “Hospital” on TV to see my jolly, superb Trauma Consultant, whom I see privately, looking worn-down. He was trying to cope with an NHS hospital crumbling around him, as he fought for a bed for a patient.

More and more people are now putting aside money to pay for their own medical care privately.  However, the private system often should be more helpful to  ‘self-pay’ patients, as they are known.  It needs to become more user-friendly to get all the potential clients who would take out insurance.

And, all private care is not a good as it should be, so it pays to check.

Case study 

Recently my family arranged for me to have private care in our local NHS Trust general hospital.  But the care was not good, and the daily rate was costing £750 per day!  This, with the person in charge downgraded to a Senior Nurse (before it had been a Sister), the kitchen closed so we ate NHS food trucked in from elsewhere, and doctoring by “looking at your notes” in some instances. I was being looked after by Healthcare assistants (HCA), NOT properly qualified Nurses. So I asked to be transferred to another hospital that everyone acknowledges as being the best.  This cost £765 per day!  One wonders how the NHS hospital thought they could get away with such poor service in comparison.

During a recent check-up my Trauma surgeon said that it was the best decision I could have made.  He works at both hospitals, and said he is concerned that in the first hospital his patients don’t get the care they should.

I couldn’t work out how the NHS hospital dared to charge almost the same rate as the private hospital, for very sub-standard care.  Living on its previous reputation, I reckon.

The HCAs who were looking after me were so badly trained they constantly forgot when my drugs were due, would send me down for Physiotherapy, but forget to inform the staff so I was moved from the bed (painful) and came back again without any treatment, and openly admitted they hadn’t yet had their training in how to look after patients with fractures (I had six).

And, crowning insult, they decided to move me in a hoist, got me in and I am suspended from the ceiling, when the motor stopped – they had forgotten to charge the battery.  For half an hour I swayed gently above my bed, whilst the HCAs waited for the electrics to charge up.

Is NHS private care ‘fit for purpose’?

It should be, but as I found out, in the hospital where I was being treated in their private wing, it was only interested in how much money it could squeeze out of the private sector, and considered that as long as you had a room of your own, private patients could receive the same care as they gave on the wards.

Fine, if their NHS care had been good, but it was Trust policy to downgrade nursing care, get rid of expensive Nursing Sisters and qualified nurses, and use HCAs as much as possible.  This is NOT good care.

The NHS is desperate to make money from private patients, but they must give care of the same standard as one gets in a completely private hospital.  It’s no use trying to ‘tart up’ NHS services for private patients, if these services aren’t of high standard.

However, some NHS hospitals such as the Royal Brompton give fantastic care to private patients, and they genuinely are of world-class standard.

When it comes to private care, it is still ‘buyer beware’! 

Most private hospitals now offer a package for the most ‘popular’ operations such as hip replacement, knees, cataracts etc.

Go to Accounts Dept. and ask what packages they offer.  Most are now very helpful, and even if you are having a ‘non-package’ procedure, can offer payment options spread over several months.  But you must arrange these if possible before you go in.  I was transferred as an emergency, and had to organise payment options whilst flat on my back – bit awkward!

If your chosen hospital has charitable status, ask if there are grants.  A friend found she qualified for a 50% reduction because her father had worked in a particular trade that supported her superb hospital,

Case Study

Zara needed a hip replacement, and went to an excellent private hospital to enquire about the cost.  She was offered a package, which included everything except the surgeon’s fee (some do, some don’t, so make sure about this beforehand).

The package included all other care: anaesthetist, x-rays, physio, private room, food (friends told her it was marvellous here), top notch nursing, and all drugs.

She was just recovering from the anaesthetic, when she woke up to find two physios bending over her.  “Sorry, but we need to get you moving” said one unfeeling voice.  Afterwards, she realised that this constant physiotherapy was what made the private care so good, as she was much more mobile and recovered more quickly than friends who had had NHS care. Unexpectedly she became allergic to one of the drugs she was on, ended up spending two weeks in the hospital, instead of a few days, and as she lay back being cosseted in bed, she knew she wasn’t having to pay a penny more.

Many friends ‘use’ private care to get an immediate appointment with a Consultant.  This tells them if they need an operation or not, and there is no long stressful time waiting for the NHS to give her an appointment,

Most private consultants also work in the NHS, and will then ‘slide’ you over into the NHS system – but sadly you then have to wait your turn.  But by seeing the Consultant privately to start with, you know what’s what.

So use Google to find out which hospitals can offer what you need;  and talk to your Consultant.  Mine was incredibly helpful, almost as concerned as I was about what I was paying out, but then gave me the news that I had definitely done the right thing – and others hadn’t got back walking after similar accidents.

And Recommendation by ‘word of mouth’ from friends is very helpful – you will be surprised at how many now have been treated privately.

Share This