As you'll probably recall, I had my radiotherapy at NHS Northampton General Hospital and they were absolutely fantastic, a cohesive caring team who made a potentially dreadful experience enjoyable - I haven't laughed so much in months! What I wasn't expecting at the end of it was a bill to arrive for £2,500 with a demand that I make a cheque for said amount to the NHS......! Needless to say, I was dumbfounded and immediately got onto the blower to BUPA to find out what was going on.
BUPA "Did you pre-authorise your radiotherapy?"
Me: "No, I had it on the NHS"
BUPA: "You should have pre-authorised it"
Me: "But I've been paying taxes for 19 years, nobody else in that waiting room had to pay for their radiotherapy"
BUPA: "You're a private patient"
Me: "So why didn't I get private radiotherapy?"
BUPA: "We don't offer private radiotherapy"
Me: "Why didn't you tell me I would get a bill for it?"
BUPA: "You didn't ask"
.... and on and on and on it went. All I can say is that they have picked a fight with the wrong girl, this whole experience has taught me a very important lesson, private medical insurance is great if you've got a bit of a poorly knee and want a comfortable stay after your operation, for critical illness you can't beat the NHS. Cancer on private insurance is an administrative nightmare (I had a bill for £3.50 the other day for "dressings" as I had a plaster during my final round of chemo and it hadn't been authorised.....)
Don't get me wrong, there are many elements of private cover that are brilliant - chemotherapy at home, the best anti-emetics known to mankind and access to some of the best medical professionals in the UK; what tarnishes the experience entirely is the requirement to manage your own treatment at a time when you just need them to be on your side (oddly enough, that's their slogan).
I'm still not allowed to talk about what's happening on 29th September but I have offered BUPA a choice, sort this out before then or they will find my rants about them will go viral, internationally viral....!
Damn, it feels good to be back!