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.

Friday, 23rd March 2018, 6:00 am
The NHS might be Britain's finest achievement. Picture: Getty

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.

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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?