Wednesday 26 January 2022

Pay to Live



I have a friend who has had six heart operations: three on her valves, one ablation and two cardioversions for irregulat heartbeat; the last one four months ago. 


A few days ago she attended her hospital for an ECG test and was told she needed a further cardioversion and that her condition was an ‘emergency’. This could not be carried out immediately because the hospital were short-staffed. ‘Don’t worry’, she was told, ‘you are not going to die’. 


The hospital told her she must not leave home as she might collapse. Once home, she felt ill and frightened. Living alone she is entirely dependent on outside support for all her living needs. When she rang the hospital to see if a date could be fixed for the procedure she was told that she could have the cardioversion in a week’s time as a private patient. The cost would be £2,500 with extra costs if they had to keep her as an in-patient. The NHS operation would be two weeks later and would involve the same staff and the same procedure. 


She is scared and when I told her she must make sure friends and emergency services were able to gain easy access to her home she started crying with fear and worry. ‘I can’t even peel an orange’ were her final words to me as I left. 


A strong supporter of the NHS she has been offered money from friends and relatives if she attends as a private patient. She asked me what I would do in the same circumstances. I said I would start with this blog to declare my contempt for a government that has left her with this dilemma - Your life is safer if you can pay.