Susan Morrison: 500,000 people a year bankrupted in US by health bills
On Saturday, I woke up unwell. Part of my anatomy had become alarmingly lumpy. On the sound advice of my GP, I called NHS 24. A cheery lad took my details and said someone would call me within three hours.
Ninety minutes later, Jenny called, questioned me and made an appointment at the out-of-hours clinic.
Armed with a good book, I set up camp in the waiting room and was seen in the fullness of time by a rugby-mad doctor who, when she wasn’t kindly examining me, was ranting at the Scottish team.
I hope she saw the last minute of the Italy game to restore her faith.
She sent me back to my little nook, then came to tell me the consultant was in, and would see me in an hour or so. A scan was carried out and a diagnosis given.
It wasn’t The Scary Thing that everyone assumes lurks in lumpy bosoms, and I found myself apologising profusely to everyone for wasting their time.
This was also a waste of time because everyone ignored the apology and the nurse pointed out that they, too, are relieved when it isn’t The Scary Thing.
Follow-up appointments arranged and advice given, along with the welcome news that I could have a gin later.
At no point was my financial health an issue. No-one asked for a credit card. Last year, medical bills bankrupted than half a million American people.
Is the NHS our finest achievement as a nation?