Thursday, March 07, 2013

Worth the wait

Was in the dermatology clinic today, having a small tumour cut off my face. Nine stitches. They didn't hurt a bit but the local anaesthetic injections did, though not for long. I asked for hospital transport today, as I'd been advised not to drive myself, so it took longer than it otherwise would have done. The other passenger in the hospital car was in oncology, having radiotherapy and seeing a doctor, so I had to wait for her. As I didn't have to be anywhere else, it didn't matter.

The doctor who did my excision was ahead of schedule, but one of the others was forty minutes behind. Maybe he was attending to patients who were seriously ill. When one of the nurses announced the delay, there was an minor outbreak of grumbling. I said that I was sure that some of my American friends would be happy to wait forty minutes for treatment, knowing that they wouldn't have to worry about a bill. It went quiet after that. I reminded me of the fly-on-the-wall TV series, 24 Hours in A & E, which often showed patients with minor injuries (some inflicted by stupidity) complaining loudly about being kept waiting, oblivious to the fact that the staff were busy dealing with seriously injured or ill people.

When the driver eventually came to collect me he was very apologetic for keeping me waiting. I said there was no need. Without the NHS, I'd have died a long time ago. Waiting is the least of my worries. I love the NHS.

Update:

An American friend posted this comment on Facebook -
A woman I know was trying to get a CAT scan for her son but no one would take him because he didn't have insurance. She asked how much it would cost if she paid cash. Less than half of what it would cost if she had been billed. So she withdrew $3,800 (all of her savings) and paid for the scan. Health insurance for us would cost $790 [£524+] per month. Even then, it would only cover 80% of the bill. Truly poor system we have.

2 comments:

Richard Alexandar said...

Lovely story, Margaret :-)

Margaret Nelson said...

Thank you Richard.