Saturday, 10 July 2010

What? Hey? Speak up! (alt. titled "A healthcare dilemma".)

I live in the UK. It is frequently wet here and quite often cold. There rarely is a Summer to speak of (this year withstanding so far) and the sky always seems very low. However. I live in the UK and we have the NHS.

The NHS is 'a free at the point of delivery' healthcare service. This means no one ever need worry about whether to see a doctor/go to a specialist/address a healthcare issue vs spending household budget on other necessities. I support the idea of universal healthcare, I agree with everyone having equal access to medical facilities and knowledge. I think the idea of medical care as a private business is against the basic premise of doctoring and nursing. However. I have a hearing issue.

I had a dream Friday week ago about being deaf and learning sign language and all sorts of other weird stuff that goes on in dreams. Then on Saturday there was an RNID (Royal National Institute for the Deaf) stall at the town fair and I actually (finally) took time to find out about hearing loss. On Wednesday I finally went to the doctor and, even though she looks and sounds like a character from 'Anne of Green Gables', she organised a referral to an audiologist for me.

My dilemma is that I am married to someone who has private health insurance as part of his employment package. For at least 11 years now we have annually received a packet of papers outlining the scope of healthcare benefits available to us. Last night I actually read it. And I rang the helpline to discuss the 'my being deaf 'situation. Once we had established that I didn't fall into any category she had on her list she outlined what the choices before me were.

So do I

a) go private and get a referral to a doctor at one of the private hospitals in a nearby town within a week or two.
b) stay with the NHS and undoubtedly get great treatment but at some date in the next month or so.

This is a choice that is vexing me greatly and is challenging several many long held convictions and until I make a decision nothing is going to happen so if you want to say anything - shout loudly!


  1. As the mother of a deaf son, I would say go NHS any day. Your hearing aids are supplied, there is a free repair service and free batteries etc. Worth quite a lot in my opinion. Also you get to see the best qualified professionals with access to many others for a second opinion if needed.

  2. I have done private for an op for myself which was a lovely experience- private room, appointments around my work, they cooked what I fancied when I fancied it. We went NHS for Will's op because the private team don't usually do children's ops and would have put a special team together which worried me as they wouldn't have known each other! Will was also well looked after but I know it would have been a less stressful experience with private after care. Basically I think it depends a lot on how long you'll need to wait and how specialised the private care will be. P.S I consider myself a socialist and struggled with this one too- but if the evil capitalists that Simon worked for wanted to pay for a stress free experience for me then I decided I would say yes, although I wouldn't consider going private myself...though I never say never.)

  3. Hi, hope it's OK to contact you here. We would love to include your blog on our giveaway blog network: Giveaway Scout ( Have a look and if interested, use our online form to add your blog ( ). thanks, Josh

  4. I am envious of anyone with the option of National Health - given the choice, I'd go that route in a red-hot minute. I pay 527$ per month for my health insurance, but the unpaid portion of the cost of a hearing aid (total estimate was about 1700$ as I recall) would have been over 500$.
    I did a trial option for a month (which cost 150$ out of pocket) and decided I could do without, at least for the present.
    So I'm in the "Pardon - could you repeat that, please?" group!

  5. Golly, I don't know! Too many pros and cons either way - but I've never been in the position to afford private health care so maybe I'm just thinking it would be a nice option if I could afford it? I suppose it depends on what you think you would gain from going private - and if it's an ongoing problem would you want to keep going privately - what I mean is, it's not like a one off operation when it would undoubtedly be lovely to have the luxury of private care.

    Sorry, I'm waffling!

    Locket xxx

    P.S. I also have hearing loss (which I finally confirmed during hearing tests for the two littlest little Lockets when I couldn't hear the sounds my supposedly-glue-eared children could hear!!) and have had excellent treatment from the NHS.

  6. That's a tricky one. I fully support the NHS and have never had cause for complaint myself. On the other hand though, a company "perk" is only a perk if you make use of it - if your hubby's company is picking up the tab then I would say go for it. Although I really have no idea how private health insurance works, perhaps some further investigation is in order - are there excesses to pay, for instance?

    Sorry, that probably wasn't much help at all, was it?

  7. and we are about to be taxed extra for not having private health cover.....ergghh,
    I said WE ARE ABOUT TO BE ...nevermind...

  8. I'm shouting loudly for universal healthcare for everyone. I've had health problems since I was 15 and so have never had private health insurance. I'm assuming your NHS is similar to our Medicare?
    But, if you do have access to be able to get in quicker privately and the cost is already covered, then I also have no problem with that also. You could also look it at it from the perspective that your saving the NHS a little bit of money?
    Having said all that, I do find that over here, the best doctors tend to work at the big public hospitals, and they have a whole team to network/research with.

  9. I grew up (in the UK) with the NHS and fully support a National health scheme everywhere! We used to have private when the kids were small, now we rely on Medicare and a lot of the time it's very frustrating!!! I waited two and a half years for a hip op, now I'm on a waiting list to go on a waiting list for an appointment with a plastic surgeon, figure that one out. For me if I only had to wait for a month or so, I'd stick with the NHS because of the ongoing benefits that Eve pointed out. Of course you could always find on of those brass trumpet things and stuff that in your handbag, at least everyone would pay attention...........hehe.
    Good luck,

  10. If you have waited all this time what does a little more time mean. Unless the problem is an urgent one there should be no reason to challenge your long held views. Cherrie
    Looks like Josh could have a hearing problem too. His comment has nothing to do with what you said!!

  11. what is it with all these chinese/japanese squiggles!!! to get back to the point - it is a dilemma - i have done both - i think it depends on how the aftercare works - i have found both private and NHS brilliant - so i am actually being no help whatsoever!!!! sorry!!!

  12. Aftercare with a hearing loss is for life! Don't forget things like wet aids that need replacing, lost aids, yes that happens even to grown ups.

  13. So which of them did you choose? Both have their pros and cons, which can make the decision more complicated. Are you covered up by your choice?