No need to Panic!
And no need for doctors and nurses to worry
For some reason the media is full of stories about doctors and nurses (quite rightly) saying they aren’t set up to police NHS admissions, collecting money for overseas patients, etc.
But – there is no need for them to do this. Abroad it is all handled by the hospital receptionist.
Until Dave gives us the promised referendum re EU membership, Britain is part of Europe. So let’s copy how they deal with the problem.
The last time I was in A & E in a European city (after diving head-first into a holly bush over my bicycle handlebars), as soon as I arrived the efficient Receptionist dealt with my credit card, and looked at my EHIC card. She took my details, home address and credit card imprint, and then waved me in to brilliant fast treatment.
Incidentally I ended up paying £30 – very cheap for what I got.
Contrast this with what happens in our local A & E. You arrive feeling like death warmed up, details are taken, then you are told to wait – whilst the Receptionists (two or three of them), go back to their important discussion of last night’s TV. You are eventually called in to see the Triage nurse – then back to waiting until 5 minutes short of 4 hours. Meantime the important discussion goes on behind the Reception screen.
Instead of chatting, these Receptionists could spend five minutes taking details of patients, and if not residents, how people are going to pay Today, if someone is visiting another country, they must have used a credit card to pay for their low budget airline fare, if nothing else.
So they have a credit card. Just take an impression. Simples!
This is managed very easily by most of our European neighbours, and doctors and nurses get on with their work whilst Receptionists get details from patients. So let’s copy what they do – and we might have a few quid to spend on our NHS.
And in an emergency, when you can’t talk or wave your credit card around, I have noticed one is treated swiftly and efficiently, then someone comes in later on to assess what you should be liable for. But British people are warned before we go abroad that we should carry insurance, so what’s wrong with letting visitors know we are doing same, and expecting them to make arrangements? The word will soon get around.
What happens in UK
Last week an Italian friend’s daughter fell ill whilst staying; we bundled her off to A & E. Before she left she was adamant she must take with her her medical insurance details, which she did. Whilst waiting she waved these around, but no-one was interested. She said she hadn’t even been asked to show her EHIC card.
Afterwards, we asked how she had been treated. All of 22 years old, she was not impressed that she had waited TWO hours to be seen, (she didn’t know how lucky she was)! And wanted to know why no-one had bothered to take her medical insurance details, when her parents had paid good money to make sure she was covered. In the eyes of a sophisticated 22 year old, our NHS didn’t fare very well, and she poiitely asked some searching questions. Admittedly she came from Bologna, a fairly rich city – but I got the impression she couldn’t wait to get home.