We can’t get ‘free’ hospital care when we go abroad
So why are we so generous to everyone here?
i’d ended up in an Austrian A & E. Having fallen head first into a Holly Bush (as one does).
I looked around, and was dazzled by the efficiency and professionalism – but no time to stare as I was called immediately. As I arrived the only receptionist had greeted me with a smile, politely asked for my Austrian identity card. I didn’t have one, but she took my EHIC card and my credit card, noted the details, and I was called immediately in to see a duty doctor and nurse working in a spotless room.
Two months later, paperwork arrived from the hospital, explaining they had taken 29 Euros (about £22) from my credit card, and were enclosing details so I could claim this back via the EHIC system. Frankly, they had been so wonderful I thought £22 was minuscule, and didn’t bother.
Hospital Admin here can’t be bothered to claim
Wrote to my local hospital which, being in Central London, has a large percentage of patients from abroad. Asked them why the same system couldn’t be put into operation here. Apparently not, “as Reception staff in A & E don’t have time”. When I am waiting the usual 4 hours for treatment, I look around; there are four staff on duty. It takes ONE person an average 30 seconds to ask for DOB, address and that’s it. Then staff go back talking to others and Ambulance staff who wander in to pass time of day. Yet one person handled all paperwork in Austria. And when I was treated in France. And Germany.
Jeremy Hunt, the Minister, says that to make hospital Administrators do what European ones do automatically, they are to be given an incentive of 25% extra to claim back the money. Which according to whatever guru you listen to, varies from £500 million to £2 billion a year. Enough to cover NHS overall shortfall for everything.
Two daughters of Italian friends were staying with me, when one fell ill. I sent her off to A & E, but not before she had collected her EHIC card, and Insurance that Papa had taken out to cover any medical emergency whilst she was here.
The two girls came back full of indignation. Not because no-one had asked for their EHIC card to claim back (but I was furious) but indignant because “we had to wait TWO hours to be seen”.
I want to know how they managed to be seen so quickly.