£10,000 for a free paper!

Posted on May 24, 2007. Filed under: Journal from behind the desk... |

I escaped my desk for a few days to return to my home town. 


Crappy little place, doesn’t change much. So why did I go? -Well my grandparents are still there, and my grandad was going in for a TKR, my Grandma is a bit of a worrier.

So being the kindly grandson I am, I took them to the hospital on the day of the op., then stayed with Grandma over night to distract her from whittling and took her in to see her hubby the next day.  All went well. So why do I tell you this???

Well…it was a bit of an insight into the world of non-NHS hospitals.  My grandparents stopped paying for their private health insurance when they were 60, as the premium went up significantly, so 20 years later the old boy wants a new knee, so they pay just under £10k for one new knee (or is that “won knew nee”) and a week in hospital.  (They worked out it would have cost more if they’d kept paying the insurance!)

My grandma kept going on about how fantastic it was, and were immediately impressed when they were asked if they wanted a “complimentary” newspaper.  As I pointed out to her for £10k, it is not really free…


…and then it all started… NHS bashing care of my elderly relatives, with not a single thought that for a great many years I had been employed by this tiny little company they were having a go at…

“Well, you wouldn’t get a complimentary paper in the general hospital”  I was a good grandson a nodded –  rather than saying…

“No, that’s right, but at least the doctors don’t all go home at 6pm, so they have to call an ambulance if anything goes wrong and get you shipped to the local NHS hospital”.

OK – so perhaps the private health cares “free” paper  verses the NHS 24/7  medical staff and emergency service availability is an unfair argument.  

It was a very tidy, quiet and neat little hospital, and the staff were lovely and in abundance (4 physio’s in a ~20 bedded ward!), my grandad could sleep in his own quiet side room, rather than in a busy ward. 

 So perhaps you get what you pay for…(depending on your taste)


BUT THEN….Grandma really rattled my cage with the: “the staff are lovely, they must hand pick them!”

Oh yes…..

…..of course because in the NHS they just drag people off the street, I’ve never been interviewed!  Beverly Allitt was interviewed and picked.  Need I say more.

Well yes actually…. If I was grossly overstaffed when I worked in hospital I would be lovely to my patients, rather than just doing my best to keep their treatment moving along and ship them out as smoothly as possible, whilst trying to do 20 other things.

Now I know that my Grandma just wants to know she’s getting her moneys worth and that her old Herbert is in good hands, but watch what you say.  She stopped being so NHS derogatory after I pointed out that most of the staff probably work for the NHS in their spare time or have done at some point in their careers, so she was likely to offend.

So…..my conclusions:

Private health care for routine op’s seems fine by me. I have no worries ethically about it. Just don’t knock the NHS! I don’t work for the NHS anymore, but I am still protective and proud of the good service they provide – and given the choice between a paying for a newspaper or paying for a knee replacement – I leave that to your discretion…


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4 Responses to “£10,000 for a free paper!”

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I like that they “worked out it would have cost more if they’d kept paying the insurance.”

I got through my 20’s that way with no insurance and I was constantly trying to make that calculation.

Max – email me when you get a chance. I have something to ask you.

I just wanted to stop by and thank you for dropping by my blog. I know the studying never ends… and I am kind of looking forward to that. Who needs a job where you become brainless and bored! 🙂

As a former journalist, I would like to compliment you on this posting.

The NHS gets far too much stick – some of it is well deserved but, where it is, you can usually trace the problem back to lack of resources or managers too pre-occupied with structural re-organisation to be bothered by things like standards of care and hygiene.
Long may you blog.


[…] Tags: NHS good | This is a bit of a follow up…back in the deep dark archives of this blog, I told of my grandad and his total knee replacement which he had completed privately.  Well this is a bit of an update. Since then he has had nothing but trouble with his […]

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