I wasn’t going to write about it, because my health is covered by the NHS… something which the government are phasing out and hasn’t cost me anything yet because I’ve been a student.
On Friday, I went to the dentist. I spoke briefly about my first visit to this dentist over at my other blog, but today, I have a lot of rants I want to voice.
There will be swearing in this, and it’s all my own opinion. I’m also still pissed about it, so in two weeks, these views may dissipate a little.
As I’m responding to a poll; these are the questions:
1) COUNTRY?! 2) profession? 3) insured? 4) if not, why not, if so, at what cost per month (or covered by job)?
My answers are: UK, soon-to-be-family-support-worker, NHS. This current piece of dental treatment will probably cost £500 overall.
The National Health Service
When the coalition decided to do away with our NHS, I fought. I’m still fighting in little ways – I attended a march, I applied for NHS jobs, I still sign petitions, and I try to only go to a health centre if I really need something.
Of course the waiting lists are out the door and the treatment can be shocking. I would probably say the chance of having the wrong leg amputated is a good 1 in a 500 if not more… in all seriousness.
Access to Files
My main issue today, is that they don’t have access to any records. We find it iffy to buy a used car without the service history, but the fact that the dentist numbed my mouth so I couldn’t speak, and then asked me questions about my medical history… then prescribed me tablets when I can’t swallow tablets and I had to really emphasise “I must not see the needle”.
Especially asking me questions he can see answers to – he’s taken an X-ray of my mouth, I told him I moved dentists because the other didn’t fucking tell me he was taking a fucking tooth out and I get asked if I’ve had this tooth out because it’s not showing on the X-ray and also doesn’t appear to be in my mouth.
READ THE FUCKING NOTES.
This is not news; when I had Glandular Fever/Tonsillitis and had to go from A&E to out of hours doctors to staying three days in hospital over Christmas, then to two different doctors in GP surgeries… and they all KNEW what I can and can’t take and which drugs I was (by this point) now immune to.
Despite staying in the same dentist’s surgery, the new dentist they employed didn’t know my file and now I’ve moved and filled out the health form again they STILL don’t know.
I would be furious about it, but I’m shaking and crying instead.
I have insurance; the bog standard same-as-everyone-else insurance. I only paid £7 for a prescription of drugs I’m struggling to take. I should have checked – I should have asked the dentist if it’s soluble and then checked the pharmacist gave me soluble. But with a numb mouth and tears still drying on my cheeks I didn’t think to divulge my entire history to every person I met.
And it annoys me that the default is I have to do that. And I will remember it in future. Clearly, I must tell my medical history to every single medical professional I meet. Makes me wonder what the hell they write all those notes for.
But when I couldn’t breathe, swallow water or sleep because I began to drown in my own saliva – I could go to the hospital, despite it being boxing day, and it didn’t cost my parents anything to have those 7 different drugs. I was even given special circumstances for the exams two weeks after I got out of hospital.
Generally, the fact that I don’t need to worry about paying for an ambulance has never occurred to me ~ because if you need an ambulance, something is serious – and a human life is priceless. But discussing my granddad’s Alzheimer’s and the side effects of his medication; in view of their visit to see his daughter in Germany – I was told about the cost of ambulances there too.
With the USA bringing in an NHS and the UK Prime Minister slowly destroying our NHS, a lot of health policies are changing.
Dentists are the only service I have had to pay for*. And only since half-way through my BSc.
*Although in the last 6 months the privatisation has led to charging for things that have never, ever before been charged for under the NHS scheme.
Opening the Story Pages
As Amanda Palmer said, no one knows the state of other’s health stories until they are told.
When I joined the revolution of “we are the 99%” I read hundreds of pages of pictures; telling people’s stories of choosing between rent and cancer drugs. I spoke to my two best friends in America; about their health plans and how they balance the minimum wages of three jobs and schooling just to keep themselves alive.
So that’s my story, and that’s the UK system as a newly-out-of-education person sees it.
I’m worried about the future, because the NHS is getting worse in every way – waiting lists are longer, training is poorer, standards are dropping, and for all this worse service they’re beginning to charge.
But right now, I don’t have to choose between having this tooth out and buying my iron tablets.
What’s your health insurance story? Share it in the comment, write your own blogs and/or tell it on Twitter using the hashtag #insurancepoll:
1) country? 2) profession? 3) insured? 4) if not, why not, if so, at what cost per month (or covered by job)?