NHS and private hell
In my ideal world, if you were suffering from acute issues with say your ear which was affecting your work with hearing loss and sleep deprivation due to tinnitus, you would:
- Arrange to see an ear specialist (hopefully discretely online)
- Go see that specialist hopefully the next day before or after work
- Have the ear specialist pull out a enlodged ear bud and the pain stops!
Instead I endured an NHS and private medical insurance bureaucracy hell for over three months, whilst losing many hours of work and sleep. :(
- It began when I thought I damaged my ear whilst attending a noisy gig in the East end
- Spent 3 days calling for an "emergency" appointment at 8:30 to see a GP at my local NHS surgery
- Doctor (GP) says I should wait a week or two
- See GP again who says my ear is full of wax and arranges syringing
- Nurse syringes my ear and I'm still suffering with tinnitus for days after
- See different GP (last GP on holiday) where I ask (actually beg) for a referral. GP declines and says I should try a steroid nasal spray for a week.
- Arrange to see different GP to say nasal spray does not work. GP agrees to refer me and writes a letter. I ask if I can save time (~1 week private, ~4 week NHS) and she suggests a private ENT specialist.
- I call up my (company provided) private medical insurance and they refuse to deal with me because my secret questions are incorrect
- Turns out they had my address and DOB wrong via the company's insurance broker
- After several emails to company secretary and broker, finally sort out my insurance
- Manage to talk to private insurance representative. They say I must go back to GP and fill in a form and they will not accept doctor's letter. The form can only be retrieved after calling the insurers and they email you with a special code
- Print & drop off insurance form to GP who fills it in for 15GBP
- Go to pick up form and the form has gone missing
- In the meantime go see private ENT specialist and get a cotton bud retrieved from my inner ear! I AM CURED!!
- Call up insurers for access to the "secure" generic claim form again :(
- Drop off insurance form and collect form again later
- Had to return again to surgery since they do not accept VISA and I did not have 15GBP in cash
- Submit form to insurers via Royal Mail
- Call up insurers and ask if I will get covered despite they not getting the form in time
- Insurers agree and they will invoice me for 100GBP for the policy excess
Insurers could have charged the 100GBP excess and decided not to cover this unauthorised private medical treatment! So I was lucky this fiasco did not cost more like 300GBP.
I am bitterly disappointed that I have spent more than THREE MONTHS trying to sort out the problem with my ear. Yes, you can call me an idiot for sticking an ear bud in my ear, which I really do not remember doing.
I spent many hours on the phone trying to arrange appointments. Calling people about ailments whilst in a small office with your colleagues is very embarrassing. Spent many hours arriving to work late or leaving work early to see my GP near my home. For some bizarre reason I was unable to join a NHS surgery close to my workplace.
My local NHS surgery should have done better. Currently you can only get an appointment on short notice by calling at 8:30 and hoping you get through. The surgery's opening hours are exactly the same as my working hours.
As for private insurance in the UK. Well I wish I was not forced to use the NHS GPs as the "front line". I wish I could conduct affairs via email, instead of finding a convenient private place to call about this matter. I wish the insurers shit Website had the claim form online that I could freely access instead of this stupid "secure email". In fact why couldn't the private medical insurance liaise directly with my doctor? Why do I have to run around printing and sending forms? Even with "Platinum insurance cover", I had to do such much to arrange everything and a 100GBP excess fee on top of that. What piss poor service from AXA insurance.
In the end I am super grateful this ordeal is over and I can hear out my right ear again! Though I can't help think that if I was less motivated somehow, I could have carried this stupid problem for much longer than three months. :(
Update: I've received an invoice from AXA. The private treatment cost exactly 278GBP. 160GBP for the consultation, 80GBP for hearing tests, 38GBP for Hospital pathology. Interesting I'm asked by the insurers AXA to pay the specialist 100GBP by cheque. I do not have a cheque book! I prefer if AXA contacted me via email and asks to pay via bank transfer. They could run their business much better.