Tuesday, 20 March 2012

NHS part 2

Just to follow on from yesterday's post, today I had a very positive experience with the NHS which once again makes me thankful for it. I feel a lot better but I'm still having issues with one of my finger joints and rang my doctor on Friday to see if I can maybe get it injected before I leave for Peru so that I am feeling 100% for my adventures. I rang at about 4pm and got her secretary. My doctor rang me back today and we had a chat and she said she is reluctant to inject the joint now as it is a fairly tricky one to inject and there's a (very rare) chance it could gets infected. I leave a week today so she didn't want me to end up in Peru with an infection, which is pretty sensible. But she asked me how I was feeling in general, and gave me an appointment on Friday just to 'have a chat and look at the joint' and to reassure me. I tried to say not to waste her time and that I'm sure it'll be fine, but she insisted I come in for a chat. I always feel like she's my second mum or something, she rings me up if I'm worried about something and talks to me about it personally. Maybe I've just lucked out, but it is really great to have such a caring doctor. And it's all for free.

Monday, 19 March 2012


I don't know how much some of you know about the UK health system, but basically the National Health Service means that everybody gets free healthcare, no exceptions. It has its downfalls, don't get me wrong. Some parts of the country are better than others, some areas have more funding and access to more drugs. The waiting lists can also be mind-boggling at times. However, the fact is I've had brilliant care by the NHS my whole life and have no reason to complain. I never have to worry that if I lose my job in the future I won't be able to afford treatment. In Scotland, we don't even have to pay a nominal charge for prescriptions. However, the coalition government that is in power just now (it's essentially a Conservative government) is trying to introduce a new Health and Social Care bill, which is proving to be very controversial. At the heart of it are two principles, giving GPs control of funding for services in their area and introducing more private competition within the NHS services. At the moment, NHS hospitals do outsource some services to the private sector but there is a cap which is very low. Under the new proposals, this cap would be raised to something like 49%. The government seem to think that greater competition for services will increase the overall quality of services for everyone. I'm no expert, but it kind of scares me that a hospital (which is currently low on space and has long waiting lists) would be able to offer almost half of its beds to private patients (probably Mr and Mrs Abbot-Smith paying for their cosmetic surgery or something). Critics of the bill say it's a stepping stone to privitasation of the NHS. The Tories do love to privatise everything, so it wouldn't surprise me if that is their long term goal. This is worrying to people such as myself who are chronically ill. As it stands, no private healthcare plan covers pre-existing health conditions. So who knows what would happen if people had to sign up for them. I also do not want the UK to have a two-tier system, with people who can afford to go private getting the best treatment and the NHS struggling to care for the poor, chronically ill and unemployed. As I said, I am no expert and all the criticisms could just be because people are afraid of change. We've had the NHS since the second world war and it's something we're very proud of. Hopefully it'll work out for the best, I guess only time will tell.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Back to normal

So the past couple of weeks I've been feeling back to normal. I think things have settled down on their own, so that's really good. Maybe it was all stress related because I've had so much on at work. Now that's passed and I can just focus on my holiday! Not long to go now, I leave on the 28th. Got all my vaccines, and most of the hotels and travel booked. Got a few more bits and bobs to book and a few more items to buy. So excited, this month is going to fly by. I've also got one of my best friends who I visited in Iceland coming over next week. She's great fun and I can't wait to have a few days with her. Overall things are definitely looking up. And I can feel Springtime in the air.