Let’s go back to my story so that we can illustrate why
Our eldest son was about 2 possibly 3 and he was here, there and everywhere
My parents had a stone step going into the front of their house
And he’d been balancing on it and he’d slipped
As a result he’d got a nasty graze on his shin
Grandad had cleaned it up for him and put a dressing on it with sticking plaster
We kept checking on it and it didn’t seem to be getting any better if anything it looked worse
A few days passed and we were starting to get a bit concerned
Now visiting a doctor in the UK isn’t easy if you don’t live there…
You need to be registered with a GP to visit them and we weren’t
About 2 miles away there was an NHS drop in clinic which you could turn up to
So we decided to take him there
It was a hot Sunday and when we got there the clinic full of barbecue victims
Which meant we had to wait for several hours before we were seen
It turned out that he’d had an allergic reaction to the plaster and everything had got infected
They prescribed these horrible liquid antibiotics
And told us that if it wasn’t any better in three days we should visit a doctor again
As many of you’ll already know it’s not always easy giving medicine to a toddler
And our’s didn’t like this medicine at all and he’d spit it out
So we had no way of knowing whether he was getting the right dose
Needless to say it wasn’t getting any better after the three days had passed
So we decided to take him to the local A&E
I had arranged to conduct some interviews whilst I was in the UK so I couldn’t take him
So my wife and my dad said that they’d do it
And that’s when I received the call from my wife
I finished up the interviews and headed straight over to the hospital
And went and found my wife and son
I’d been there for about 5 minutes when a sister found me and asked if I had our insurance details
I said “I’m a British national, my son has a UK passport and this is an NHS hospital, so why do you need my health insurance?”
She responded. “I’m sorry Mr Macdonald, when we were admitting your son, your father said that you lived in Malaysia. So because you don’t currently live here you’ll need to pay for your son’s treatment. So can I have your insurance details please”
We had international health insurance that covered us there. So, I gave her the information
Thank goodness for insurance!
My son was in hospital for 3 days on a ward no special treatment. And he was given intravenous antibiotics.
He was fine, the infection cleared up and was running around again
We had to cancel our trip to Majorca
Our insurance company got a bill for £1,700 from an NHS hospital that has NO private rooms
And this was 12 or 13 years ago so imagine what that would be today?
Rest assured that this situation hasn’t got any easier
In fact post COVID things are even worse as resources are stretched the NHS will look to recoup costs
reinforcing the need for travel insurance
And here’s another example to help reinforce this
I recently had to visit hospital for a check up
While I was there I was chatting with the nurse
We were talking about social media stories on foreign visitors with relatives in the UK. How they come over and use their relatives address to get free operations on the NHS.
Having been through the spousal visa process with my wife. Which includes an NHS levy payment on top of the visa costs.
(Any relative would have to go through a similar procedure to stay here long term)
Considering the expense and time involved,
It would mean that they could go elsewhere and get the operation done cheaper in another country.
Not only that, the waiting lists for simple things are long. For example an MRI could be six months with another 6 weeks for results
And you have to be registered with a GP in the first place! Which isn’t easy in itself if you don’t have the proper paperwork
I questioned the validity of these stories and she agreed
What she went on to say was that there’d been a study done recently. If focused on which groups were the biggest debtors to the NHS.
It wasn’t British non nationals that were exploiting the system and sucking out the funds.
By far the largest group were British expats who got treatment when they came back to visit
Something that they’re not entitled to because they aren’t paying into the system
Isn’t that a turn up for the books!
And they were looking at the way’s in which they could recover such costs in the future
Now this may be stirring some emotions up in you
Some of you may find it annoying that you don’t qualify for healthcare in your country of birth.
Though isn’t this simply entitlement? Expecting to get something from a system you no longer contribute to and may not have for years?
Or you could be getting concerned because you hadn’t realised the situation.
I promise you this if we hadn’t have had health insurance and I’d have had to fork out for the hospital bill. That would have been a holiday wrecker.
And not only that the treatment that my son needed wasn’t complicated. If it was then we could have been looking at costs in the tens of thousands.
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