Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Accessing Health Care

This blog post is about the dilemma I have seen people go through with accessing health care and the problem of insurance companies. Now, we all know that we have access to free health care in the UK, via the NHS. Its great being able to ring for an appointment, going to the doctor and only having to pay for it if a prescription is administered. However, it can often be IMPOSSIBLE just to get that valuable 8-10 minutes with a GP. What if you have to go to work? The evening appointments offered by some doctor's surgeries are so popular, there is never any availability...

Waiting lists are another issue. Sometimes, a doctor might refer a patient for tests/x-rays/other investigations and more often than not, you end up on a waiting list which would be a queue so long, you might be waiting for months by which time the original problem you had has got much worse. If an anorexic patient was told they had to wait 6 months before there was any sign of them being seen to, they could die in that time. Sorry to be blunt, but its true. And mistakes like this can't afford to happen.

Opting for private health care is just not an option for most people. But from my experience of getting psychiatric help, I do know a lot of people who sought help for private psychiatric medical health care via insurance companies - but the problems that followed when the insurance money ran out are just horrendous.

There is always a level of uncertainty because you dont know "how long you've got" i.e. how much the insurance company is prepared to fund. Will they continue to fund treatment after this episode of illness? How much will the premium be next year if you claim a lot on it this year?

How are people meant to get better from these kinds of problems if (a) they are worried about the funding running out and (b) when it does run out and the waiting list for the next possible source of help is so long, they have no-one to turn to?

If private health care is the better option i.e. you're seen to quicker...why can't more people have access to this kind of support?

I am not for a moment saying that there is anything wrong with the NHS (I mean there is, but the point of this post is not to have a stab at it), I am just frustrated that for those of us who need the help, its not always the right sort or readily available.

I set up my own help and support network, to help the friends I made in hospital, in order that we can support each other for when things get tough. Its called P-FINE - and is very successful with about 50 members at present. Do you know what FINE stands for? More on that another time.


  1. Friends In Need Everyday? Feel In Need of Energy? I look forward to hearing. Another sound piece Miranda.

    1. Thank you, Anonymous! FINE doesn't actually stand for that but I think they are excellent definitions. I promise to blog about the meaning of FINE soon and I am so pleased you are enjoying my posts. Keep reading and spread the word!

  2. I know the FINE acronym which includes one particularly entertaining profanity, but I'm not convinced that's the one you went for :P

    The two things wrong with NHS mental health treatment is that it is still rooted in out of date ideas and it is underfunded. More research, more innovation and more money is needed. If the government would stop trying to take money from disabled people for five seconds and address the problem of large scale tax evasion they might find they had a bit more of the latter!

    It's great that you set up your own support group :) go Miranda!

  3. Another informative blog… Thank you for sharing it… Best of luck for further endeavor too.
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