First go at the NHS

First go at the NHS

Had my first experience with the NHS or National Health Service this week. It was a unique experience. We had done all the proper paperwork when we moved into our house, i.e. finding a surgery or doctor’s office that was accepting new patients, then going to their office to register and fill in all the paperwork. Then after a few weeks, you receive your NHS cards in the mail and you are officially a patient of your new doctor’s office (or surgery). As we have now been in country for a bit over 4 months, I am starting to get low on some of my prescriptions so figured it was time for a visit to see what I could get renewed.

When we lived in Seoul, Korea, we would go to the doctor and basically tell him what we wanted in the way of prescriptions. It was quite handy to go get 600 doxycycline pills because we were traveling in malaria ridden countries or to get 300 of this or that. Usually I could get one thing or another for my husband also without him having to make an additional appointment. We always did the research and then the doctor wrote the prescription. Of course, there were certain things that could not be obtained in Korea. Then we lived in Canada off and on for a few years and pretty much I found the same to be true of the doctors I found there. I did the research, I told them what I wanted/needed and they wrote the prescription.

I wasn’t sure what I would find in England. So I go to the office and sit in the waiting room until the neon sign buzzes and my name comes up to go see the doctor. Her door is shut so I knock on the door which apparently I could have just walked in since my name was called. I explained what I needed and she proceeded to write me prescriptions. As easy as that! EXCEPT, one of my prescriptions has been banned in the U.K. Drat! Now, it has been banned because some people have had some side effects with this particular medicine. So what does she give me instead?? Some kind of narcotic that is “very addictive.” Great. Just what I need! Now instead of being able to take the medicine on a regular basis as a preventative, I can only take it now when in dire pain and only at night since it will put me to sleep! Not really sure this is a good thing. And the other medicine I required was a refill of synthryoid. There is a generic version of this medicine and that’s what she gave me. I tried to explain that for whatever reason, the generic version makes you lose your hair. She insisted it was the same thing. So now I have to find the research, again, to convince her that it does indeed make you lose your hair and I have to have the real thing, not the generic. Oh well. A little controversy never hurt anyone and maybe there is something that I can teach these doctors!

The most interesting part of the visit was yet to come. Upon getting my prescriptions (and my orders for an X-ray), I stood at the front desk waiting to see how much I had to pay. NOTHING! OMG. That’s a first! Then when I got my prescriptions today, again I stood waiting to see how much I would have to pay. NOTHING! Because I am over “a certain age” which will remain unnamed. AND when I got my x-ray, how much did I have to pay??? You guessed it – NOTHING! Wow, I could get to like this NHS. If only they had the meds I like. My hubby will have to stretch his meds until he reaches the unnamed age so he can get his for free too. I wonder what they will give him instead of the ones he currently takes.

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