Ask Britons what they are proud of and what beats the Queen, the beautiful countryside/heritage? The good old NHS. But this national treasure is crumbling, the victim of years of badly applied sticking plasters rather than proper investment. The BBC (another institution loved by Britons but less so by government) has been running stories on the NHS all week and has come up with all kinds of horrific statistics – rising waiting lists, 90% of hospitals with ‘unsafe’ numbers of patients etc. This isn’t the place for political discussions but really, the health secretary Jeremy Hunt saying the NHS problems are ‘completely unacceptable’ doesn’t fill me with confidence that he will fix it. And his looks are not his fault but is it just me who thinks he looks as if he’s inappropriately smirking the whole time?
But, back to being pragmatic (or selfish). I haven’t been to a doctor for years and the boy is (fingers crossed) super-healthy. If he (or I) were ill, would the NHS be enough or should I be considering private medical insurance? Of course not: the cost would be too much for me – the average premium is more than £1,100 a year. Possibly of more use to us would be a hospital cash plan – these are the schemes which pay you out cash if you need outpatient treatments and also if you have to spend time overnight in an NHS ward.
There are loads of them – and they can be as cheap as a few pounds a week (check out a comparison site for deals and also on medical insurance). Most cover dental costs too – and my ageing teeth always seem to need something doing to them. Indeed, some senior NHS employees I know have these plans. They bought them after the Brexit vote thinking that the NHS, which depends on non-UK staff to function will only get worse. And if they are doing it...
See our quick guide to medical insurance here. Tell us your hospital horror stories – and those when the NHS went above and beyond at email@example.com